NEW PLACE

This dialogue between imagine art after artists & filmmakers Florence Ayisi, Didier de Masso, and Bindu Mehra ran until 17 January 2010, after which the artists were invited to discuss ideas for new work. The dialogues have now ended, but you can see and engage with the development of the selected proposals here.

Monica Rubio Door vs Finger 2009

Monica Rubio Door vs. finger 2009

 

Bits of me.

If  only I could walk in air.

It s better than to walk on the ground.

Feeling time pass and still be here.

It will be so lovely indeed.

what is the alternative?

If I could I ll be in the air

It s good for my health.

And from there I see clear and everywhere.

It s better than to be on earth.

Like all little things indeed that come and go.

Come and go.

It comes and goes.

Goes and comes without any signaling.

The rising  and setting sun.

Its spreading rays.

Attaining enlightment.

where from?

Does it matter if one does not know how things will be ?

Yes a totally obscured future.

Obscured?

smiling , will it it better if it were not?

Like the type of future we dream about ?

I dream about?

You dream about

Smiling, its crazy all these

Yes it is ,it makes no sense at all, so that is why I guess more attention should be paid unto it.

Unto it.

Time will always elaspe . It is time. So?

It matters most to keep moving , with no idea of what is heading.

It s not a law.

With pleasure , deciphering each puzzle.

Like now.

Each bit of us known or not.

Naked, covered.

Sad , happy, tired, or vivid.

For a while….Silent , in silence.

Doubt.

And if I were wrong?.

Guilt, shame, remorse, illness.

Falling , standing, creeping…Yes.

Oh..I m tired.

Standing , looking , thinking , feeling…

I m human.

Moving forward ;

Moving forward;

Moving forward.

I m happy of a new happiness.

I m happy of a new place.

One made by me.

Smiling, smiling….

It is an e-motion.

It will stop.

whatever, I d be on already.

It matters most.

smiling.

it s just and e-motion

I don t care, I on…. I m on !

Didier Demassosso aka Didier de Masso

slowly, bits of me.

Greetings to you Bindu and to you Florence :).

lilith

According to myth and legend, Lilith was the first woman, created before Eve. She was Adam’s absolute equal.

In the Garden of Eden, long before the eating of the apple, the Holy One created the first human beings a man named Adam, and a woman named Lilith. Lilith said, “We are equal because we are created from the same earth.”
from the medieval text Alphabet of Ben Sira, 23a-b

Kali and Lilith

I have come across some interesting research which finds many similarities between the Indian Goddess Kali and Lilith, both of whom in todays contemporay times are symbolic of power, strength,  independence and power for autonomy. I have seen massive changes taking place in India, many of them are silent social movements orchestrated by older women as part of their daily lives.  Younger women on the other no longer desire to be defined by their roles as home makers only. There is an intrinsic desire within them to be free from social and cultural taboos, to be economic independence, to be treated as equals.

http://reli350.vassar.edu/trover/other.html

Bindu

mandaps

Bindu Mehra

Proposal form

All our artists are invited to submit one or more proposals for new work, individually or collaboratively, by 1 April 2010. Please click here for the form:

iaa proposal form

Bindu!

I have dreams of a place where ‘everything we can imagine is real’ yet what is real is not our construct.
Your last post resonates so much within me as so much true is it.
It s s like a second skin.
I guess our human nature has to do something with it.It s certain we re extraordinary limited.Yet , what is better in the universe than to be a human being?.
Close your eyes and think about nothing all will be okay.
Cheers Bindu.

your suggestions

Thank you for both your suggestions in the New Place. I have been down the weather a bit… will reply.. need a few days to myself.

Best,

Bindu

Thanks Eline

Thanks Eline for the post,  I think the work is really funny and thought provoking as well. It is so easy to live with misconceptions, with belief systems passed on to us by the media or past history. A simple example is that when I return back home, people associate me with what they knew of me in college in India, which is about 11 years back, I am not the same person, but it takes an effort to see and understand that this person in front of u is not the same person whom u may have known. We tend to typecast people, cultures because it is easy, why make an effort.  When one is within a system or ones own known systems these attitudes do not become obvious, but when one leaves ones place of origin one starts observing things that one did not see before. When one talks about India, one wants to see Bindis ( dots put on the forehead), one wants to see henna, one wants to see pathos, one wants to see the poor, the beggars, the colour red, yoga, spirituality, bollywood, violence- non-violence- Gandhi…… they are the given knowns, easy to identify and hence Indian. Outside all of that nothing is Indian, one see’s this being done repeatedly within the media, within art exhibitions, within the general perceptions of people, in newspapers… and i want to address this fact through London Lagna. Many cultural practises being shown here may or not necessarily portray the India now, also many of these practises make sense within the context they are in within their own country, and the many cultural practise when placed outside their origin become mere nonsense.

Cheers,

Bindu

Pleasure : what is your pleasure?

It is a principle that all humans seek for pleasure and have aversion for pain .Normally that is.Well, the subjective nature of pleasure made me to wonder on its essence-It s hard to talk about something so intimate-.This because pleasure is part of our private self.Why should it be so. So it s thus true humans are all egoist. As time elapses I tend to think that the “pleasure principle ” – Freud theorises that the Id is our resevoire of what we would like to do always – seems to reign in our world.
It s anxiogenic not to find the right type of pleasure? One that is within the limits of our psyché.Limits?. Does pleasure have limits? If so not all plesaure are of the same nature.Culture , eduction,socialisation , make things difficult.They produce a sort of unawareness.Too much or too less.
Yet , it seems biologiocally we re made to savour life.There is this fact , we have five senses.Each one having a specialised area in the brain to treat information from them.
Does it matter how long pleasure lasts or is it having it that matters?.
There is a sort of entanglement that I find difficult to escape from.

It s like jogging, there is a point where after haven exuded sweat, the brain and the body , the mind and the body seem not to exist.This language between the body and the mind , this concept of pleasure , the object of our quest, the feeling it gives us as human beings, seems to construct parts of our umwelten.

Sensuality , sensoriality , well what are all these? .
It never ceases to intoxicate the self .It is never enough, more is never less, always more and more .
The thing that bothers me is that how to end with the feeling of servitude.
Pleasure is everywhere , in the air , when you walk in the streets, in a sweet-food, in a bath , in communication, in act of communicating, the ‘scene primitive’. in a book…
Perhaps it will be better to share pleasures , yes I think so.That way our umwelten will just be futher enriched and new semiospheres will arise.
what is your pleasure? Saying it is already the begining of the construction.

“Viva la vida”

I have a weird feeling.It’s a mixture of tremedous trill and fear , a sort of sweetness and bitterness seems to tint my mouth.why? I ve been dreaming of this instant.Well, I guess I have to talk .That is all I have to do.I hope you re all doing good , All of you here.-Breda, Eline Andriana ,Monica, Andrew, Titus, Danilo, Ana,Fikret, Denizhan, Goddy ; Florence, Hazen , Issam, Luka, Bindu, Taus, Natalia, Thoko, Andrew, Yang, Bei.
En passant , it is a hot day , and I m just glad tomorrow is coming faster than expected.Viva la vida.

Funk lessons

Bindu, take a look at this, Funk Lessons by Adrian Piper. What do you think? Also see this work by Senam Okudzeto.

It rained.

Nice to read from you Florence.Il y a longtemps !!. Well, you know I m a freak of wanting to do new things so I guess your suggestion made me to be more motivated in a way to do this research. Yes again , I find women terribily interesting in all aspects of our lives ! God was not a fool to make her.

I find your suggestions very to the point and indeed I will go more into depth.Merci beacoup !!.

Time factor I had juts to use what I had.

What about our joint work, is the theme New place :…….?

It rained very early this morning.

It was fabulous to see how the sky darkened within such an instant.It rained for about 45min.

It has been cold all day .Today is always better than yesterday .

Cheers :)

brief sharing with Perception of the world in my place…

On 13th Feb, I posted a response (scratching the right spot) to your photos of Int. Women’s Day in Cameroon.

I am delighted to see that on March 8th 2010, you entered the Spaces of Women – great! – you called them “Best Creatures Ever” in one of your communications.

Will the approach be your own personal point of view or perception of the Women in New Spaces through their dress? Just wondered if you were able to lose yourself, completely, into their own spaces; their femininity. It would be great to have an insight into how the women feel, what they think about their New Identities in contemporary Cameroon, or how their bodies are metaphors or symbols, an outlet, and an exhibition platform for personal ideas. Grande!!

Florence

brief feedback….

Bindu, I was  thinking that My Indian Bride could work well on a website that used the approach of  Database Narrative. I have not done this myself, but you can find some examples on the Internet; especially as you are thinking that other women could add their stories? – kind of user-generated media. Maybe you could look at  what Lev Manovich  and Marsha Kinder have said about Database Narrative

Nice Idea

Re website

Nice to reda from you Bindu.Your proposal is just too lovely.It is very very interesting.I mean I never knew that there was such a fond for the status of the broom.

Pardon me is it linked to the alpha status?.

I guess the essence of marriage in your precised context is to “free” the women from their mothers. By so doing , they might live better their feminity and their sexuation. I agree with you that the fact that women devote their lives to their family , they might feel very strange when they do not have them again.It s like a mourning.Yet , I don t know if there is not an ambigious feeling portrayed by the mothers.

I guess if the mothers get to have a bride who will be ‘willing’ in  way to be their’ girls’ again , things might work.I was think about the independence of these brides and even their determination not to be possed by no one . After suffering a lose , how will they accept a possesion?.

That is what I think.

How are you? :)

Didier

reason , faith , passion

The heart which way ? The brain which choice?

Didier Demassosso aka Didier de Masso

1 Passion

Didier Demassosso aka Didier de Masso

2 Reason, faith , passion.

3 Intution

Didier de Masso.

Didier De masso

levels of awareness

Standing in the cup, many of them.

Different they were , in forms, in colour , in type, in effect produced.

They should have found it difficult to choose.

They should have found it difficult to wait to be choosen

“Pick me , pick me, pick me ” they all shouted

Looking at them , silently nothing seemed different.

They w ere all pencils,crayons-words or things.

Images, sounds, photos, envies, dreams, wishes, us.

In between time , things changed though ;

From the time thought began till the time hand decided.

This very moment was the begining of awareness.

Deciding , a process which caused frisson.

A feeling, an envy , a taste, a desire , disgust…

A curve , a smell, a note , death,lust, lost…

An intention , a message, a moment, pathos…

Again…a game, a lure , crypic clue, sensationflow;

That is words , then ;

Guilt, fear, love , courage, responsability…

more words ;

Finally, a creation

My creation…

Didier de Masso.

Didier Demassosso aka Didier de masso

website

Oldage brings about lonliness, especially women are more prone to it than men, more so since they devote their lives bringing up their families, and their children  who grow up and move on. women tend to feel a sense of void an emptness, a feeling of not being wanted anymore. thinking about the Indian brides, i was wondering whether it might be interesting to set up a website, photographs of  the younger and older women could be put up with their background history- probably a social networking site with a different pupose, whereby older women could be made to adopt a bride who was has been left behind by their husband, it will give them another purpose and maybe for the women back in india, an engagement and support outside their family which might end up being more meaningful. The exchange could take place in terms of communication, shared stories, histories.. Please do give me your feed back,  will really appreciate it.

Bindu

Bindu

Perception of the world in my place : Proposal 2

Randomly.

Didier de Masso

culture and mentalisation; an outlet?

Didier de Masso

woman standing with box on her head contain things to be bought.Holding some plastic bag in her right hand and another bag in her teeth.

Didier de Masso

Slippers waiting …some women trying them.

Didier de Masso

Feminity ?

Didier de Masso

Which identity?

How do they feel?

What do they think?

Didier.

My Indian Bride

there is a growing problem with NRI marriages.Many NRI’s  come to India get married and then abandon their brides. These brides are now being called the Holiday Brides. The women are left waiting for their husbands, who never turn up or do not call for them to join them in their own countries. Many of these women do not have the oppurtunity to get married again since the society in many a small towns and villages is very conservative, they are shunned by the society for no fault of theirs, they depend on relatives for financial handouts. my heart goes out to these women, i can understand what they  and their families must be going through. On a persoanl level i have known 2 such women, one of them came back but the other had the courage to start a life for herself in New Zealand. There is also a growing awareness regarding this problem, but as of today there are are thousnads of women whose families have become destitutes, selling their lands off to pay dowry for their daughters so that they can get good husbands. I thank god that at 20 I had the courage to say no, but there are thousands unlike me who are waiting for years for their husbands of a few days to come back, take them to this dreamland where there will be an end to all their problems. AND WE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER….

Bindu

Perceptions

The camera is a powerful extention of our senses.Even though it contributes in modifying reality it enables still to see it in some ways which the unaided eye cannot.

I m going to post a series of photos of the women’s day.As i said in one of my last communication.I m using the dressing behaviour as indicator of mental structure.The interpersonal differences should also be noted as well as inter generational differences.In reality the singularity of each an every people is fundamental in the understanding of certain aspects of our universe.I don t think all humans follow thus regularly or harmonously Maslow’s Hiararcy of needs.Why? I hypothesize that the experience groups of humans have lived has radically changed their mentality and as well the interaction between each of them. This issue has brought about the creation of a mechanical mind. A Mind whose structure is totally predictable due to the mixing occuring in terms of culture , and finally habits and behaviours.In some years it might be queer to see someone who is different in mentality. There tends to be a sort of robotized society which makes the sentiment of being human something difficult to bear. The brain fears things which are new and this new experience is source of anxiety and distress.

Internet , mass communication and finally our own perceptions of all of these create a world which seems to be governed by harsh rules. Rules which nature does not have . Rules which create chaos within our psyches.The issue is that most of what is unbearable is repressed and then transmitted from one generation to another.Since everything that has a begining has an end,the generations coming will have mental structures totally under tension,unstable.

There is a specificity in the occurence of different sexes.I think it is a ying and yang.Perhaps we know it so well but with the mechanical mind in action this knowledge becomes repressed.

It could be interesting to invent a device which would be able to measure objectively subjective experience of reality.It is fundamental in understanding How much harm has cultural hybrization caused to us humans.How will we look like in a 100 years , will women be men and men be women? Is it the right question to ask? What sort of evolution are humans into? Perceptions of the world in my place – yaoundé.

Didier

In response to Breda….

why three characters? how will your narrative move beyond illustrating issues above? is split-screen an effective or on obvious strategy in dealing with duality?

Characters: The choice to use 3 characters is a consideration for the length of the film, which has implications for the budget in many different ways.  Actually I may have to limit the characters to 2 only in order to provide a good insight into some of the questions and issues I indicated in my draft proposal (posted on March 3rd ). However, I am open to suggestions regarding engaging more than 3 characters.

The main narrative for the film will be framed around exploring the characters and their situations in specific contexts/locations (public & private), involving encounters with family, friends, etc. The plan is to film at least 2 individuals whose experiences show a range of points of views and attitudes. With familial relationships in particular, there’s always opportunity to explore conflicting ideas, attitudes and opinions when it comes to first generation immigrants desperate to maintain certain aspects of their culture – What kinds of tensions are generated in families when first generation immigrants find ways to remember, maintain and express their Cultural Heritage in a new country, far away from Home?

As the development for the project continues, I will focus and limit my choice of characters to individuals who have deep and well established social and economic connections ‘here’ and at the same time have emotional and other connections back in the ‘homeland’.  As an example, there is always a clash of ideas and attitudes between first and second-generation immigrants, and their outlook and feelings towards certain aspects of culture and identity.

Both characters and locations will provide valuable creative spaces to imagine and construct the complexity and multifaceted aspects of identity and belonging. I think that the use of split screen is more than just a strategy for dealing with duality. I am hoping it will provide a space to complicate, question and imagine the complexity of cultural differences and expectations as well as other less obvious dimensions that move beyond duality.

I am still thinking…
At this point in time, I am not able to provide very concrete situations to clearly define the narrative thread to the extent of saying specifically what will happen – as the film deals with real life situations; some things are uncertain. However, we will see the characters in circumstances that to engage the viewer both at an emotional and intellectual level, and through these, reveal the multifaceted complexities of identity and tensions of belonging ‘here’ and ‘there’

More as time goes by….

Florence

My Indian Bride

A NRI ( Non Resident Indian) is believed by many Indians to be an ultimate catch, smart, accomplished and intelligent. The Indian mindset is such that people are convinced that the brightest and the smartest men always head towards western countries, where their intellect is appreciated and rewarded. Material comfort, economic security when added to the brand value linked to living overseas, becomes the dream of every parent for his daughter. Working abroad certainly means more money, greater recognition of talent; an excellent work environment along with immense job satisfaction and success. A Dollar, Pound or a Euro salary helps afford good lifestyles.  Back in India, NRI’S command a new kind of respect, doors open for them, and heads turn with a look of awe and admiration from all around. There is a fetish for anything foreign! Within the marriage market, these men are highly valued and are a dream come true for many an Indian women. Perhaps for some they also symbolise freedom from patriarchal and the conservative family structures existent in India, and for others economic prosperity not only for themselves but their extended family as well. Many such brides often coming from villages of Punjab, UP , Haryana and Gujarat have little knowledge of the language, culture and traditions of the country they are migrating to. They move from one conservative set up to another, living within the confines of their family, working, bearing children, looking after them till they are able to fend for themselves, fulfilling all their family responsibilities, till they grow old. Old age for many of these older women brings about loneliness. Gender, social, and cultural factors influence the experience of loneliness. Language problem makes it difficult for them to communicate with their neighbours and grand children. There is always the difficulty to find company with whom they can share their feelings or talk due to the lack of trust and insecurity. Their desire for human intimacy and social integration remains unfulfilled.  They often find themselves wanting to relocate to India or thinking of the times they had spent there, in their youth, prior to their relocation as brides to the UK. Through this project I would like to address on one the dreams and desires of the Indian Brides and on the other the lonliness they encounter during their oldage.

For this project I would like to make 2 videos, the videos will be projected across one another.  One video will consist of dialogues with Indian women about their dreams and desires for going to the west, with images of the Indian country side, wedding preparations etc. Right across will be projected videos about old women talking about their loneliness and their desire to go home.  When the dialogues with the older women start, in the opposite screen will be images of Indian villages, fields etc,

I am not sure about the length of the piece.  The title of the work will be ‘My Indian Bride’.

Cheers,

Bindu

Cross over

when you talk about investigating ‘misrepresentations of cultural practices in contemporary art’ can you be more precise? and are you really questioning it by recreating another (mis)representation in a gallery-set lagna? and is questioning it enough? how will it be engaging and go beyond the obvious?

Eline one can often see frugalities of open-ended interpretations of Indian culture in many international projects that often offer an extremely unreal/ romantic image of India outside the country. For example: A. R. Rehman’s Musical “Bombay Dreams”, some other recent crossover films like American Chai, American Desi and The Guru.  Through London Lagna, I would like to address the fact that when works of art or cultural practices are placed outside their origin, region, locale, nationality or cultural origin, they often loose their meaning and significance. But in essence what remains at the end of a ceremony is merely a ritual.  A brief example of translating the mantras-

Sanskrit – Maangalyam thanthunaanaena mama jeevitha haethunaa / kanttae bathnaami supahae sanjeeva sarasa satham:

Translation - “This yellow rope is managala suthram ( a necklace which symbolises that a woman is married). This will help my longevity. I shall now tie this rope in your neck. I pray you live happily for a hundred years.”

Yes Eline I am questioning it by recreating another (mis)representation in a gallery by using humor/sattire. I believe that one of the ways to talk/critique any system is by being a part of it and by opening oneself or ones work to crticism. Its something like saying dont east sugar its bad for you but i could also show eating sugar is bad for you by consuming large quantities of sugar. Living in USA, I came across most ridiculous practises like power yoga!!! or cross over dance forms here in London, where by the dancer/ performers have bare minimum knowledge of  traditional Indian forms such as Kathank or Bharatnatyam and they are merging them with Ballet. Often little knowledge or insufficient knowledge of other cultures in the name of cross over cinema, artforms, end up at times diluting art forms, at times recreating them into some other form and at other times end up being gibberish.

Construction of umwelten

I agree with the theme of New Place been included for each our individual proposals.

My  first Propsal will be made of four Photos.

Photo 1 ‘representing’ Language.

Photo 2 a concept

Photo 3 an object

photo 4 the sentiment of being human – the self.

Have once again a lovely day you all.

Kisses.

8th March in my town Proposal 2

I m just back from the match pass.

Each year A match pass isorganised in my town yaoundé during the women’s day. The kabas were lovely this year too.Very colored and the designs and couture were of all sorts.The creativity of  the women tailors, – Most tailors are women in my town and seemingly all over my country- has been improving as women always want during this Day to be in their best and unique kaba.They will not like no other woman to have their design. There is such a viril appropriation of this clothing.

This year I was there again .Unlike the oher years I felt a bit weird.I felt weird because how how women felt.On field work is always for real than what the media say.There seems to be two sorts of women matching. More it seems there is a symbolic attachment made around the kaba and its accessories.

This feeling as well as their empirical observations made me want to work on how women themselves percieve this day and then themselves.

I m interested however in what the women on field say about it.How they feel about it and how in general it feels like to be a woman. I could have interviewed them to know but I ll use solely their dressing behaviour and their to what they associate the kaba to indicate what they think about their status , role and gendre even.

It will be necessary I pass a questionaire to do a detail study .It is in project.

I will submit this  idea in the form of photographs by wednesday.

As I said earlier ,I intend to research all over cameroon if funding is availbale on the general perception of women of themselves.Women make about 52 percent of the total population in cameroon.Most of these women fall within The reproductive class and as well the labour class. What they think about themselves and how they act/behave is fundamental in the constitution of stable family structures and in promoting healthy family.

I ll go to some hot neighbourhoods to be in this ambience. It is hot now, very very hot. The sun seems to have reawakened .

Breda, Bindu , Florence I hope you all had a nice day :) .Happy day !!

In-Between Lives

as I understand, you intend to engage with THREE characters: “to provide new insights to cultural hybridity, and how new identities, personalities are negotiated between ‘host society’ and ‘homeland’.” then, you identify two basic movements:

I)  While some people see this state of being as a positive step in socio-economic terms

II) some define themselves as ‘living in a state of limbo’, confusion, with no fixed cultural identity, and not actually belonging neither ‘here’ nor ‘there’ – a new foreigner to yourself and your homeland, and a ‘constant’ outsider ‘here’…”

why three characters? how will your narrative move beyond illustrating issues above? is split-screen an effective or on obvious strategy in dealing with duality?

suggestion for submission – NEW PLACE theme

I have been thinking hard about the best way to submit out ideas under the general theme of NEW PLACE. Bindu suggested that we should make a decision soon about this. My suggestion is that it would be best if we submitted our projects as individual proposal documents, and then we clearly state (in each proposal) that it’s under the theme of NEW PLACE.

I am open to another way of doing it.

Florence

In response to Breda…

‘here & there’

Florence, the project about “a state of being in-between homeland & host society” – to what extend does it resonate the theory of cultural hybridity? if yes, does it depart from it any way?

Yes, the project resonates the concept of cultural hybridity. However, there is a distinctive departure; I believe that while most immigrants have acquired certain aspects of British culture, for example, they have also brought aspects of their own cultures ‘here’; these are thriving and they are openly expressed.

Reflecting on this within the post-colonial context, (as well as postmodern and globalised societies), positions have shifted so that the cultures of the people at the margins (the former colonised subjects) are being experienced, appreciated and have been absorbed by the dominant cultures – a cultural exchange of sorts that positively redefines the cultures of minority communities or groups. Aspects of some minority cultures are not only visible, but have been absorbed to the point where Curry, for example, is described as British Cuisine – an example of what Cultural theorists call acculturation.

People from the dominant culture, ‘here’, share and experience minority cultures and some aspects have become part and parcel of how the host society defines itself within the multi-cultural context. Today, it’s not just a question of minority cultures being influenced predominantly by the dominant culture.

The many immigrants who live (belong?) ‘here and there’ are not fully assimilated or integrated into the British way of life or culture; they choose, they mix and match what is on offer ‘here’, they also confidently express cultures from their traditional homeland ‘here’, and when they go back ‘home’ for brief visits, their ‘new ways of being’ are visibly different too in may ways over ‘there’.

The personal narratives and lived experiences of some of the characters selected for this project, In-Between Lives, could help to provide new insights to cultural hybridity, and how new identities, personalities are negotiated between ‘host society’ and ‘homeland’.  While some people see this state of being as a positive step in socio-economic terms, some define themselves as ‘living in a state of limbo’, confusion, with no fixed cultural identity, and not actually belonging neither ‘here’ nor ‘there’ – a new foreigner to yourself and your homeland, and a ‘constant’ outsider ‘here’…

Florence

london lagna indian bride

when you talk about investigating ‘misrepresentations of cultural practices in contemporary art’ can you be more precise? and are you really questioning it by recreating another (mis)representation in a gallery-set lagna? and is questioning it enough? how will it be engaging and go beyond the obvious?

I am more intrigued by your indian bride post, even though the idea is not formulated yet, but it seems more related to you, Bindu. How does it connect to the present-time you, though?

Indian Bride

I was 18 years old when i first received my wedding proposal from an indian groom living outside india… he wanted an indian bride.. i refused much to the dismay of my family. i failed to understand why the gentleman needed to come to india to look for a bride, were there not enough women from his own community in his country. i was made to look presentable!!!! to show my drawings, my paintings etc etc, needless to say i was amused and angered by the whole experience.  the experience has stayed with me till today.  i would like to work on this very idea of the indian bride. at the moment am trying to formulate the idea in my mind, will write the details in a day or two. This will be my last proposal, in total I will be submitting 4, 3 individual and one collective with florence and didier.

Bindu

Last proposal

I will be submitting my last proposal on Indian brides.

Bindu

Technical part.

I ll use a digital camera.

I ll use either black and white or colour  photography.

I have shot already Four things. Four because of the symbolic value it has.It could not be any other thing but Four. We re three and I added something new. So my proposal will be made up of four photographys relating to language , (a ) concept, the self and an object.

My construction is dynamic.That is it involves forces , so the notion of conflict is present.Yet Four is a stable structure.

It is very hot now.I  am having a  good day. It just began.

Aspests of our umwelten :Personality !

I appreciate your efforts to make our work move Bindu and Florence. Recently I was thinking about my own sentiment of being human and I wondered what you think of me?

:) The fact is that in any form of construction a foudation has to be made.

Again ,the essence is that in the construction of umwelten all what we ve shared is there. I find it fantasitic indeed.

In Due time Bindu and Florence you ll see my visual construction of the umwelten.I ll Not be late. I ll futher talk about the techinical aspect of it in a next conversation.

Bindu , I like when things are said straight just as you did .Yet I was working when you said what you said.Thank you hwoever.

Florence I think your film too will be great.

We re doing a good job.

I love the structure of our group , the manner in which langauge, the self, concepts, and objects are been used.

If you ve noticed , we have three different personalities.Each with a particularity .Each too with flaws.

if we re using about the same languguage , we should be able to understand our selves.Its a Jackobian principle.Yet there is also something happening.At times however we talk to each other but we do not seem to understand each other.

I would like to know why?.

Visually

the proposals seems fine but how do you intend going about it… visually?

Bindu

London Lagna

The text i wrote was not a quotation. Breda, this work will consist of construction of a mandap in the exhibition space constructed with available materials,  Mock marriages enacted by invited participants with the recital of canonical texts translated literally from sanskrit into English making for nonsensical gibberish and a video  consisting of a virtual priest reciting the texts, at the beginning and the end of the texts will be traditional marriage music remixed with pop.

Cheers,

Bindu

New Place:Construction of umwelten

I m sorry for the late entry.

I have not been so well , and again have been in a vortex of weurd sensations which though kept me working.

I m happy to be back though.

I m for a joint work.

I don t play with words I use them.Though I love words , so I could play with them when I like , I d rather believe I use them.I find great delight in using words .Perhaps at times I use them badly , I m sorry for this.However , within me are thoughts and feelings and words are the only material I have to use. I began using words before photography so my photographic image is growing.

My Proposal is called Construction of umwelten. The umwelt is a concept coined and invented my the german scientist and artist Jakob Von uexkull .Several umwelt make and umwelten.

Umwelt can be said to be in english the “surrounding world “or environment.In french it is “monde propre” there is a Japanese equivalent “Quismio”- which means my universe , or my space.I m just gong to use these three .I m working on other languages.

I will consider in my work the french equivalent of umwelt.This because it relates to the subjective perception of the individual of the universe taken to be everything and as well to my empirical studies.

According to Uexkull, the mind and the world are inseparable because it is within it that the world is been interpretated. He goes further to say that for the same environment different people will have different umwelten.

I find his idea fantastic because we are human beigns. Uexkull studied mostly on other organism of the animal kingdom.

I began my proposal with the sentiment of being human.

I think that humans use language , their human essence - the self, concepts, and objects to act onto the world , to interprete it as well.The idea is thus a construction as all humans are different culturally.Also because they live in different physical areas they grow up to be different physically.Finally because they speak different languages they don t perceive the world , the universe in the same way ( Sapir – whorf Hypothesis) they don t also think in the same way ( Vygotsky). Uexkull points out something of very interesting, when two umwelten interact a semiosphere is formed. A semiosphere cannot be the same as the two umwelt that made it.Taken into account laws in chemistry and the gestalt theory .

I find my self in a postion of growth , this place is new to me.my town I live in is again more new.The experience of living after haven intergrated certain things about the reality of life makes things always new- our cognitive structures are never stable.. So the contrusction of umwelten is my view point of how been a human , living with others real or imaginary changes , and has changed. My sentiment of being human now , and forever will always change.It s not eviedent our obvious as We do not know tomorrow.

Construction of umwelten is as well a reflextion on our essence generally and most on the manner we live .How the other is in our minds and how their presence influences us.The principle of interaction is fundametal in it as it is the mechanics of change be it within and without.

I d be glad to answer to your questions.

Thank you. :)

Didier de Masso.

London Lagna

do you say this or is this a quote? I could be wrong – but either way is fine (if quote, please credit): “…investigates representations of cultural practices and portrayal of rituals in contemporary art and media. When placed outside their region, locale, nationality or cultural origin, they often lose their essence, meaning or significance. What remains at the end of a ceremony is merely the aesthetic misinterpretation of ritual.

what’s the medium? what are we going to look at?

London Lagna

London Lagna investigates representations of cultural practices and portrayal of rituals in contemporary art and media. When placed outside their region, locale, nationality or cultural origin, they often lose their essence, meaning or significance. What remains at the end of a ceremony is merely the aesthetic misinterpretation of ritual.

I believe that this work will offer an opportunity to understand how cultural flux, through laxity creates unconstructive mutations. One impetus of this review is the translations of canonical ritual texts recited into English.

lagna

in terms of a ‘marriage’ of cultural influences – something like this:

London Lagna

LONDON LAGNA- Lagna means ‘marriage’ in Hindi. “London Lagna” is a multimedia, performance installation. It investigates misrepresentations of cultural practices in contemporary art and media. Through the enactment of a traditional Indian marriage ceremony, London Lagna offers a humorous representation of rituals placed outside its region, locale, nationality or cultural origin.

The home project one could call it a self portrait, but using my own personal history, story or narrative I would like to talk about the unconscious dreams and desires of a person and the collective society as a whole. I know Breda, when i wrote the time period of the film as 8 minutes I was in a little doubt myself, since it does seem a tall order, but I will  be showing people directly talking about me in third person, i will be using their narration as sound which I will be super imposing on visuals be in photographs, video footage etc.  Ideally I would like this to be 8 minutes long, but I would also like to leave somethings to chance, it could be longer, but i do know that I dont want it to be a long piece like 20 minutes or so.

Bindu

‘Home’ project – a self-portrait ,actually? all this* audio & visual information compressed in 8min?

*“…using images, photographs of all the places I have lived in, video footage, sound recording of people who knew me, the recordings will be in past tense, they will talk about this person called bindu her dreams n desires her sense of belonging to that place, her dreams of a good life, her declaration of her independence, her dreams for equality, her search for a perfect home, a perfect place, a perfect city etc. sound/music will be an integral part of the work.”

(I) London Lagna, and (II) ‘Home’ (self-portrait?)

the ‘wedding’ project – is it a past/future real-life event or is it fiction? what’s the medium?

‘Home’ project – a self-portrait ,actually? all this* audio & visual information compressed in 8min?

*“…using images, photographs of all the places I have lived in, video footage, sound recording of people who knew me, the recordings will be in past tense, they will talk about this person called bindu her dreams n desires her sense of belonging to that place, her dreams of a good life, her declaration of her independence, her dreams for equality, her search for a perfect home, a perfect place, a perfect city etc. sound/music will be an integral part of the work.”

‘here & there’

Florence, the project about “a state of being in-between homeland & host society” – to what extend does it resonate the theory of cultural hybridity? if yes, does it depart from it any way?

London Wedding

I will be working on another proposal titled London Lagna ( London Wedding).

Cheers,

Bindu

reply to work in progress

Thanks for posting the mail and your project.You mentioned that at some point soon, we (Bindu, Didier & Florence) need to discuss if we will submit separate documents or one document clearly indicating our common theme of NEW PLACE. I think we need to do that now, since there will be many nuances and other things we will need to sort, a common proposal for us, how the work needs to be displayed etc. There has not been any concrete information, or idea proposed by Didier till now and we will have to set a deadline if we do not get a definite idea by that time we go ahead with the New place, though ideally it will be great if he does come up with his proposal now. Didier hope you dont mind, but it is getting late now and we need t take the proposals to the next level. I have been working on another proposal and feel that the one about my mother does not work well with our project about the new place. Hence I am working on the concept of a home.

the breif outline is as follows-

home is a place of  residence refuge and comfort. Usually the sense of home attenuates as one moves away from it, but it does not do so in a fixed or regular way. Homes can trigger self-reflection, thoughts about who one is or used to be or who one might become. These types of reflections also occur in places where there is a collective historical/cultural identity. As an alternative to the definition of “home” as a physical locale, home may be perceived to have no physical definition–instead, home may relate to a mental or emotional state of refuge or comfort. There are certain cultures in which members lack permanent homes, such as the nomadic people.  In todays globalised world, the notion of home has changed meaning for many individuals.  With the development of the transportation industry – the airplanes, cars, trains etc mankind has become mobile in a way one could not have dreamt of before. There is now an emergence of a set of people who consider themselves as global citizens, citizens of the new world, the neo nomads. Being at home now need not be specific to ones place of origin.

In our globalised world people leave their homes for myriad of reasons- be it social, political, economic or cultural. They live in a state of constant flux, thereby giving the person a sense of being at home everywhere but being at home nowhere. Being at home is no more locale or culture specific but is an inward journey for being at rest.

Through my art project I would like to address and understand issues such as notion of home, whether home is a psychological state of mind or just a social construct or does it exist in reference to the memories of the past, a lived experience?

If one is at home everywhere and one is at home nowhere, then is one living in a constant state of absence, can this absence be constructed through multiple narratives and can one construct a psychological profile of an individual to understand the unconscious dreams and desires of a person and the collective society as a whole.

for the project I will be using images, photographs of all the places I have lived in, video footage,  sound recording of people who knew me, the recordings will be in past tense,  they will talk about this person called bindu her dreams n desires her sense of belonging to that place, her dreams of a good life,  her declaration of her independence,  her dreams for equality, her search for a perfect home, a perfect place, a perfect city etc. sound/music will be an integral part of the work. The work should not be more than 8 minutes long. This will be a single screen projection.

I think this will work  sits well with florence idea in the new place. please let me know what your suggestion is.

Take care,

bindu

work-in-progress

The main idea I am proposing is a little further down the page. But the first 5 paragraphs are important; so please be patient and read.

At some point soon, we (Bindu, Didier & Florence) need to discuss if we will submit separate documents or one document clearly indicating our common theme of NEW PLACE.

What I have presented below is not my final written proposal. But rather, some of what will form a substantial part of my project proposal. First of all, I need to present a brief background before I describe some of the key aspects and questions I wish to explore in my project. This is necessary in terms of context and locating myself.

Background: I am the ‘one who left home’. I am geographically separated from my traditional homeland; this is how I became part of this very innovative iaa “international multi-stage art project”

On our ‘special’ podium of NEW PLACE, we have been having a 3-way dialogue – between THE ARTIST WHO LEFT, THE ARTIST WHO STAYED and THE ARTIST WHO LIVES BETWEEN LONDON AND DELHI, but originally from India. Our three-way dialogues have generated a lot of inspiring ideas that led 3 of us to identify (and agree) a common theme to explore for our project (s) – the notion of New Place. We agreed to individually interpret the theme in any way we wanted. I have decided to develop a project that is related somehow to the reason why I am part of this iaa project in the first place – that is, being ‘here’ in Britain; away from my traditional homeland. I am in the diaspora.

I am part of the New African Diaspora – ‘New’ because our ‘recent’ journeys happened soon after we became ‘independent’ from our European colonisers; we are the post-colonial immigrants as opposed to the movement & displacement of African people due to the Transatlantic Slave Trade – the forced voyages across the Atlantic.  

The project Idea is called In-between Lives (working title)

Here are some key elements and issues to explore: Living ‘here’, away from my place of birth, means that I am literally in a ‘new’ space, and I am also a visible minority with ‘newly’ acquired status. This new state of being comes with certain challenges and issues around belonging to two worlds – the host society and our homeland to which we are still attached to in many different ways.  

This project is not directly about me - it will be based on other Cameroonians who are in my similar position – like me, they left our ‘traditional homeland’; they now live ‘here’, in the diaspora, and are part of what constitutes multi-cultural Britain. I am curious to explore the idea of NEW PLACE by looking at how others like me deal with the challenges of being in-between two worlds and cultures.

Stories of migration are not new; they are a common feature of African identity, like many other people who have moved and relocated for various reasons. Some of these people and their stories will never be heard. This project aims to tell a small slice of the myriad of diaspora narratives that are particular to Cameroonians who have settled here in Britain.

My idea is to make a creative documentary film that provides an insight into some of the complex issues around living in a new place and still being attached in several ways to the traditional homeland that is vastly different from our host society – different socially, culturally and so on.

The film will focus on 3 main characters (the ‘social Actors’) – their individual narratives will show aspects of their in-between lives, experiences and situations. It will show how their New and Old identities co-exist here; how they find a sense of ‘belonging’ to the host society; how they maintain a strong sense of their specific cultures from ‘home’  - through a manifestation and display of certain cultural forms such as music, dance, food, dress, etc.

Here are a number of questions that will form the basis of how I will attempt to show the in-between lives of the characters: how have they adjusted and integrated ‘here’? What new values do they inhabit? Didier suggested sometime ago that it would be interesting to know how the merging or mixing of different cultures affects the mentalities of people – I like this! Are there any specific social structures, spaces, networks and connections to affirm or preserve aspects of their cultures? What have they lost in the process of settling here? What is missing here, and how do they fill the gaps of the missing bits? What kinds of links do they retain in their homeland? Why? What tangible and intangible aspects of their cultural heritage have they brought here in order to ‘connect’ with ‘home’? – Do these make them a ‘visible’ part of the multi-cultural landscape of British society? Is this ‘New Home’ the final stop, or are they just passing though, to reconnect again with their ‘traditional Home’? Bindu, the constant traveler between big cities and the ‘World Citizen’ said that she has no strong sense of belonging anywhere with regards to a ‘home’; that she does not know where ‘home’ is. This made me to think about how some of us (Cameroonians) experience a state of being in-between ‘here & there’ – homeland & host society; home and away! How do they locate themselves between these two worlds that have different cultures/traditions? Do they reproduce ourselves anew when they move between these two very separate cultural spaces? Is there a sense of being in a state of constant flux when they try to navigate between these worlds? Are they always in a New Place both mentally and physically? One of the characters I have found has been living ‘here’ for 35 years; she runs her own business, and has two (2) children who were born here and are in their 20s. To fully illustrate the idea of in-between lives, it will be necessary to follow this particular character to the ‘traditional homeland’ where there’s another layer of New Place and identity within ‘home’ – a complex and complete reinvention of herself.

Here are some initial ideas or filmic elements: This film will depend on very strong and dynamic visuals; predominantly moving images. I will also incorporate still images (of the characters, objects, locations, etc). Sound will be used sparingly, and the main sources for this will come from either minimal comments or responses, conversations or monologues from the characters – these will link the different images for each character’s section to provide individual portraits in their different contexts or spaces. I will use montage and music as key elements of revealing character and communicating specific ideas and emotion. In some instances, images will collide to create a specific effect. Another important visual aspect of this film will be the use of split screen at various points to illustrate certain aspects and to express or juxtapose specific ideas such as to emphasise the in-between or fractured lives – a sign of modern times?  

Format: Budget permitting, this film will be shot on a High Definition (HD) video camera.

The length would be between 10 or 15 minutes; again depending on what the budget permits.

That’s all for now.

Florence

Word play

When I said “There are some Facts that we can’t change no matter how hard we try to play with words…” I was actually referring to Didier’s relentless playing with words over and over again! Some things will just have to stay the way we (humans) have decided named them since we acquired language.

I hear you Bindu, thanks – I have been enjoying the process of our 3-way dialogue: communicating and exchanging ideas about our work, and much more. I

Back soon!

Florence

what do YOU want (really)

back to basics – (I) what do YOU want to say? (II) how is your desire going to inhabit the language (medium) you intend to use?

Change

Hello Florence, Many a times we tend to weigh our success through social acceptance or acceptance of people in our own profession. This is a wonderful oppurtunity, just take things as they come, enjoy the process and please dont worry about the outcome, whether we succeed or not should not be of any consicuence, but the fact that one tried is important and one tried and enjoyed it is the most important. Please cheer up… you wrote ‘There are some Facts that we can’t change no matter how hard…’ Florence we can change many things in our lives, but it is just that do we have the courage to change them? Change requires action and courage and a large amount of openess and acceptance…of our ownselves and others as well. So have faith, whatever is troubling you will get sorted out.. dont worry about the outcome…

Take care,

Bindu

Sometimes

Hello Didier,

I am not going to write on further on what i wrote anymore, but there is a time to think, a time to ponder a time to act and make a decesion. And sometimes too much thinking and no action is not very constructive either. Sometimes too much thinking is also an escape from taking action. It is like almost like writing about the nuances of drawing and then analysing it again and again and again and not picking up a pen and putting a mark on paper. Sorry to say but i feel you have been doing this for a long time. Instead of realling listening to what Breda is saying you are just finding an alternate arguement, why not ponder over what she is saying and think about that instead of thinking about nuanaces of language.. she may have a point there.. and you may take that forward into your own work and then see how that is or is not helpful to you.The choice still rests in your hand. But you need to now give a clear cut idea of your projec. It seems you are interested in using language in your work but then what next after that. There are only 13 days left and nothing conrete has come out as yet. Florence too has explicitly stated as to what she wants to do… can we have something from you as well.

Sorry for being forthright, but I think we need to come to some decesions about our projects together, else it will be better to apply on our own.

Cheers,

Bindu

welcome

It s nice to read from you again Florence.

I understand what you mean.

All will be okay.

have a nice today.

Didier.

absence

I have been ‘out of myself’ for the past days – this explains why I have not been present ‘here’. Maybe I got lost in my thoughts – thinking too much about our agreed concept of NEW PLACE and what is important in relation to the specific idea to pursue. WHO determines, or decides WHAT is Important to make, for WHOM & WHY are critical Questions when one is developing project ideas. I have been dreaming a lot about writing Exams and being in some kind of competitive sports -manifestations of anxieties about this project? Hmm; who knows? WHAT should I say? HOW should I say it? Will the idea be good enough? Does it matter if I don’t succeed? Of Course! Yes! No! There are some Facts that we can’t change no matter how hard we try to play with words, analyse words, or say that the meaning of certain words could be subjective, and so on. Good. Evil. Small. Large. Clean. Dirty. East. West. North. South. Black. White. Water. Flower. Girl. Boy. Tree. House. 

I will be back tomorrow with something more concrete about developments on my proposal for our concept of NEW PLACE.

Florence

I have a feeling…

‘what are we to do if want to avoid illustrating concepts or stating the obvious?

I love your question Breda.

I think we can do nothing to prevent this to happen.Ever since we ve acceded  language things are and well never be the same.

When we were kids we used  bits of sounds to say I m happy or I m not .We grow , we grow we begin to coo, them to point.Yes after we talk , we produce speech.I don t think we talk about things we re ingnorant of that is why we believe in what we say.Though at times what we say , think or feel might have nothing to do with reality.We have to tend to it , I think so strongly.

So Breda I think Saussure made things clear .The signified is an acoustic image.Of What? The concept , the sign. We have to represent ourselves our world inorder to maniplulate it. Perhaps to understand it as well. Yes not perhaps , to understand it as well. Red is red because it s been made so. It  s not obvious .I d love to think so

I don t believe that things are obvious they are just the way they re.Theories and principles make them to be so. The moon cloud not be shapped like a square , if it were , nothing of what we know now would be .

I acknowledge that our brains have helped us veil part of reality and this certainly for our sake.Yet what is hidden at times after what is not has been unwrapped , needs to be known.Bindu how should we think if we don t keep adding to our thoughts other thoughts.The laws ofb the mind have no limits a priori and stricto largo. Are we the ones that made this so? It does not need to conflict with our sensations, our feelings.This being, this lacher prise is inherent to the sentiment of being human.

At times , I don t want to feel nor to think , I want to move in the water and let it drift  me to where it wishes.Yet , It moves downstream the water.In which way do I want to more? My life instinct talk , I become just  a bunch of cells.A bunch of living cells

I want to sleep… but I have a feeling.

Didier de Masso

why her not him?. why him?

All will be okay Bindu, all will be okay :).I m happy your toothe aches are gone.

Hello back again

Hello Didier and Florence,

I am sorry for not being in touch with both of you for a while. I am now back in London, my toothache is fine, but have left my father back home who may get hospitalised very soon ( in a day or two). I dont know when i may have to ruch back to India but I am praying.

Anyhow please give me a day since I just arrived yesterday- night and am trying to get myself organised which will be done by today. I missed London and am so glad to be back… have all my notes with me, so I will be going through them and trying to put them in order. How r you florence, busy? There has not been any news from your end… how is your project coming along.  If we are to submit the proposal together all 3 of us, we need to dicsuss our works and see how we can write regarding a new place. Unless you have changed your mind.

Didier I hope your confusion has gone? I have one simple suggestion to you – yes things are not what they appear to be, yet the truth of the matter or the reality is today/now. One can go into metaphysical realms or take recourse to language, play of words etc but there is an old dated saying which goes as – a rose is a rose is a rose… you may argue and say that how do u know that this is red and not green and who decides, … sometimes one just has to take somethings as granted for convinience and then work ones way forward thru that. We live in a social world, thats the truth/reality, there will always be many sides to a coin, but what you choose to believe is the ultimate reality, and taking that as a given move on and do not allow any confusion to take you away from that. There are many paradoxes, sometimes dwelling too much on the paradox takes you away from understanding the paradox itself.

Cheers and take care,

Bindu

are all words a person, place or thing?

“are all words nouns?” interesting question – what next, Didier?

also, what are we to do if want to avoid illustrating concepts or stating the obvious?

some sentences visually.

Dodier de Masso

Levels of consumption.

Dodier de Masso

YOU ! Introspection of the self by an other.

I made a mistake some will ago but it will be corrected. Perhaps not , as everything seems to be a construction.However, if one admits haven made a msitake things begin to change .I ve always found this great.

Didier de Masso

.

Do you see redness?.

The sentiment of being human.

Each bit of my development has been marked by particular experiences which questioned my human belongingness.

Each bit of experience no matter how minute it has been has made me to requestion my position in the world.My role . Existing has cesaed to be evident.Meaning has to be part of it.Yet I m not alone, we are not alone.We live with others , others like us in essence.Why then so much nuances ? How can one gain insight into it?

In this quests , I ve come to ask questions again about things like langauge which enable bits of us to access greater spheres of reality.Langauge enables one to break rules , to forge a singular reality.New words , new ways of using them , new ways of even seeing the world just with Language. Reality becomes paradoxically conceptual.

At times we communicate not to make sense but just to communicate.However , via language we percieve the world . The presense of the other becomes more important than ours then.

Lovingly , all these words ; even the one i m using are just concepts. So is language void sense ? Something quasi immaterial but which enables us to act unto ourselves and unto others .The act of speaking is just as fundamental as the act of writting.The act of communicating , metacommunicating.In which world are we living in? a mechanical world or it s opposite?- It could be anything but more human, perhaps

The self finally becomes a greater sphere which encompasses all of these, and extends our umwelten.

In my New quest , well in this intimate search for unity I ask wether the other is not in fact so much us .Like living mirrors, aspects of us we do not want to know, aspects of us whom are new to us could be united via the mind use of language and concepts.

I would love to believe that The world is a lovely one , it is , it is ; but as well things don ‘t seem to be the way they re.

It is in this evidence -we all know- . I m constructing.

What is evident is a lure. Are all words nouns? How does it feel like to be another?.Which objects do we desire?

Five sentences.

To See YOU.

To se you both, you all is a lovely thing.Time moves so fast and an experience of it is not always what it seems to be.

Things seem not to be what they be :).I rememebered this Phrase from The movie Prison Break I absolutely love.Well, I m happy to be back.

I have been thinking , sensing , and trying to focus myself on what we re to do , what I m to do.I m happy to see you ve been working.

My entrance into here was a bit Tinted with your actual experience Bindu.Well toothe aches are pretty wicked aches but all will be okay.i know you love your tooth, there herbs and powders which seem to cleanse the holes and prevent the nerves from been over sensitive. I ll try and get more information about this and I ll tell you.

I read very calmly your proposal and I loved it.I think you should not hesitate to get deeper.It might even reach your psychical elements.

I ll now present you My Proposals.

Bis Damn !!.

Thanks

I am glad you like it, i am in the process of writing another proposal, i have the idea complete in my head, but i have to be able to write it clearly in my head before i type in on the computer. do let me know whats up with your proposal,  and with d’s as well.

my toothe ache is still there,  there are some cavities that can never be filled… there are temporary fillings, one can get a cap, but a tooth lost is a tooth lost… so one lives with the cavities and the refillings and the pain. so i write hail toothe ache… i am in love with my tooth and my tooth loves me naught!

cheers and look after yourself and dont get a tooth ache,

Bindu

further proposal

Hi Didier and Florence,

I am working on another proposal will post online after a few days. Trying to formulate my thoughts as well as my language.

Tk cr,

Bindu

Great to have you back!!!

Hello Bindu,

Sorry to hear you have been well. Great that you didn’t let the tooth ache keep you down another second. It’s also very wonderful to read about the stories of your parents, what they suffered, plus ill health, missed opportunities and much more.

I think your ‘Subject’ and approach to New Place sounds amazing – do it, please. It’s interesting stories reside in us, on our door steps or much more closer than we think. IAA or no IAA, I strongly believe that it’s an important personal project that deserves attention, and it’s just nice that I am able to share with you, in this New Place we have been placed in, something about your Mother’s confinement. I wonder what she ‘lost’? I would like to see and hear her story. I like it!

I hope you keep recovering, fast.

Warm greetings,

Florence

AM SORRY BUT MY TOOTH LOVES ME A LOT

Hello Florence and Didier,

Sorry for not being in communication with both of u, have been having a toothache, dental problem which is driving me nuts.  Anyhow today i decided i must sit down tooth or no tooth!!! but believe me I have been reading all yr mails and have enjoyed reading them thoroughly. Florence I am not sure how 8th March is like in India, since I left 3 years back but surely nothing like how u have described. But as far as the proposal is concerned i would like to talk about it in reference to my mother- a new place for her.

Partition of India saw a huge exodus of people across the 2 countries – India/Pakistan, one could call it as one of the largest political migrations in the world and one of the most violent as well.

The social, psychological and economic  impact on the migrant families cannot be explained merely in words.  Most of those who experienced the trauma refuse to talk about it. Both my parents experienced this very trauma, which has had a profound impact upon their perception of the world. Economic hardships, loss of home and family life created a desire in most migrant families to not only survive but to succeed at any cost. Leisure and relaxation was for old age. Long hours at work finally affected my father’s health and he has now been seriously ill for the past 26 yrs. The dream of living a leisurely life, of travelling around the world, seeing New Places came to naught.  All that my father dreams of is getting well and all that my mother dreams of is to visit me in UK , which she cannot due to my fathers illness.  Most of her time she spends in being engaged in social activities or just looking after my father. Years of sleepless nights have taken their toll.

For this project I would like to talk to my mother about her dreams/desire of a new place.  Maybe this New Place is also a reflection of her deepest desire for a change in her current circumstances. To relive the dreams of her youth, dream of my father recovering completely, dreams of her travelling together with her husband.. her dream of visiting me in UK.

I would also like to go around UK, shooting different cities and projecting them back in real time/ or in a video format,  for my mother to see. Probably in someways realizing her unfulfilled dreams.

This is a brief description of my project on New Place. Please let me know as to what u feel.

Hail tooth ache,

Bindu

scratching the right spot

Hi Didier & Bindu,

Hi Bindu – what happened? You did  say we should communicate at least every other day. Is everything ok?

Didier, it seems I just scratched the right spot; glad to know that you also enter the space of these lovely creatures on March 8th and find a way to navigate and connect with the ‘best creatures ever’ – your comment!!! Could this be a Place/Space in which you care to explore and share from your own very personal point of view? I would love to see how your impressions or expressions of the varied emotions take shape or find an everlasting space in your art – how can we remember some of these Passionate moment of exuberance through your art? It seems like I would have to rely on you this year (2010), to capture a slice of this special occasion for Womanhood. It does not have to be even for IAA, just do it! – for me, for them, for yourself – lose yourself in it, and in that process, capture something special that will live beyond you!!!

Warm greetings to you both – still wondering what 8th March is like in India/Delhi. 

Is Bindu Well?

Warm greetings from Wales,

Florence

An explicit metaphor.

Flowers have a lot to teach us.Some smell good while others not.Some are colored while others are not.Some are not coloured and smell FABULOUSLY others are coloured and smell like hell.It s a mixture of a lot of sensations.Some are tiny others big.In this cocktail of sensations that titilate our senses resides a formidable thruth ; we re made to savour life :).To exchange experience , to grow.

Women they re to me he loveliest thing That God could have granted as gift after life to man-that is with a phallus.

At times I wonder how it feels like to be a woman?

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1452721&l=672e4d2177&id=779914629

I never miss the match pass on the 8th here in my city.The air becomes stiffed with beauty, power and will .Colours and forms saturate the atmosphere and the least I can do is to smile to this human symphony.With their Kaba’s and their presence they rekindle aspects of me gone.So much encrusted in a culture which  literaly prevents internal exploration of our bisexualities.

Astonished and fattened I remain always after such an experinece.No 8th March is the same.No single piece of moments shared in this body of sensuality, paradox, strengh and the unknown is the same.

It s  lovely all these just like the flower that smells good or not, that is big or not.So many aspects of the same thing .It s  a fantastic paradox but one I ll always love abundantly. To be different yet so much alike at the same time.

I m happy you exist my flower.-slowly said.

calling Delhi & Yaounde

 The Premise? Hmm – You like it Bindu? Well, where are you dear Mama Delhi?

Didier, I am not sure why you could not smell the beautiful flower – try closing your eyes; then inhale very hard; it’s in the air – I Can smell it!!! It’s all there – it’s great.

On the 8th of March, Women around the World will celebrate International Women’s Day. In Cameroon, this will be a National Public Holiday in honour of the Woman!   On March 8th, Women will come out in their numbers to celebrate who they are, their strength, resilience, courage beauty and achievements and much more. For many Women, it’s one of the special days in their lives when they strongly believe that it’s Nice to be a Woman, rather than it’s Hard to be a Woman. There’s laughter in the air, there’s ‘sunshine’ and merriment, their voices can be heard; they will sing, they will dance, parade, drink, gossip, dress up in colourful clothes; men watch in amazement and envy! They too join in the celebrations. Women share, connect, network, perform, exchange stories, gossip again and again mostly about men even though men are watching (ha ha!) – don’t worry, I’m sensitive to how men feel at this time in Cameroon…

Some will walk tall and proud!!! Oh, and many will lose themselves in the activities of the day because this experience provides them with something New & Different –something that helps them to see their other ‘self’ which they will lose by the end of the day. But they will live in Hope and Anticipation for another 8th March where and when they will find another new space, and territory, new friendships and the time to be joyous again on such a large scale.

8th March is momentous in demonstrating a small part of their identity; even if it’s short-lived because by the next morning, it’s the dawn of a new reality where maybe the masks of day-to-day survival come on while they await another Women’s Day for those special moments that will come and go in a flash; moments that though flitting or brief clearly bring out another way of seeing women’s lives and experiences.

Well, dear New Friends Bindu & Didier – without wanting to completely turn the table upside down in our calm process of researching and developing ideas, this is a wonderful space to explore New Space – to see a small part of what makes some women ‘tick’. Some [Cameroonian] Women leave the UK to be part of these passionate moments of exuberance!

How is it in India, dear Bindu? And Didier, have you watched women on this day in Cameroon? I wish I could be there to capture those special passionate moments – I am a gleaner of all things bright and beautiful about women!!!

There’s just so much to say and do in the world through our various arts; how do we do it in our various ways?

Warm greetings as I prepare to settle down to watch a film, eat lots of pop corn and chocolate – decadence?

Florence

the invisibility of others

Hi Breda, Didier & Bindu,

We feel pain and face challenges in the process of learning, understanding, encountering others, and when we enter an unfamiliar territory; and there are many different unknown territories. This very open endless space provides a huge testing ground for our ‘other self’ that we may or may not know.

Most often, it’s in the process of losing aspects of ‘self’ that learning takes place – this awareness can only be a special moment for learning a little bit more about ones self.

Didier thanks for the lovely flower – a ray of hope and sunshine in this endless space that threatens what we think we know, and what we want to know and share in many ways. We may feel vulnerable, but it’s the brave little steps of courage that we take that matters the most. Like the delicate and fragile flower we set ourselves free and are exposed in this space.

I admire the courage of ‘others’ who know that they too must speak in order to be heard; and when they ask, “how do I look? Is my voice good enough? Is my blouse clean for your camera? Will people laugh at me when they see how I live?” – who they are, and their different outlook on the world matters to others beyond their own world – others who may choose to laugh, jeer or admire difference. They care about how others will perceive them, but they are brave enough to step out of their comfort zones into unfamiliar territory. I am trying to create a Podium, a Stage for others to share how we live. Not many people are fortunate to be asked to speak. I am hungry to know who others are, and how they deal with the many questions/issues/challenges that are universal.

red not rose aspects of love

you re insight is pretty Breda.Love is the key.

I thinkin calm now and I m doing what has to be done.

In time all will be ready.

Pardon me  Dear Florence and Bindu  for this time wasted as Loftus said I was “wrong” to think so candidly what  I was thinking :).

It is a lovely day here and it begings , this weekend with colours.

Thank you Breda your idea is a lovely tint to what has to emmerge. I love this – “whether or not our hearts are meant to be broken, the notion of the self is meant to be lost” (?).

I m still growing , I don t know yet I think it s only with time that the ripe gets ripe and tastes good.However, I guess we should not be afarid of loosing things that did never really belong to us.

I agree willfully  to work with the proposition  you Florence and Bindu have suggested.:).

Hope you re Doing well Bindu.

Have a nice day once again.

For you Florence.

This is  a mimosa pudica flower Florence.Its for you.

I ve tried to sniff it to see wether it has a smell or not but uptill today I ve not found one.i m stil trying.

It maps the reddish brown  soils of most parts of Yaoundé now.

Please  have a lovely day :)

Didier de Masso

staying power of ‘lucky in love’ (?)

or – just a suggestion of yet another be/longing – “whether or not our hearts are meant to be broken, the notion of the self is meant to be lost” (?)

another way of seeing

 Yes, Breda, your question provides yet another view, another perspective, another interpretation of how we can look at the concept of NEW PLACE – thank you.

 For anyone who has been lucky to fall in love, the “face” or the Person he/she has “met” provides a NEW WORLD, a NEW SPACE, NEW HOPE, NEW FEELINGS & EMOTIONS, NEW BEGINNING – in this process, this person we are “falling in love” with is not only physically NEW to our lives, but ‘renews’ us in many different ways; mentally, physically, and emotionally. so in may ways, that person we are falling in love with can be seen as a NEW PLACE/SPACE.

 Yes, a New Face, brings a New Life and a New way of Seeing your Old Self. And if we are lucky in love, you could be in a New Place for a long time!!!

 “Falling in love” is a new Private experience that can enable us to discover something new and different about who we are; qualities we did not know we have.

 A New (personal) encounter changes us and changes our outlook in many different ways. I believe that when we meet new people, we are drawn or introduced to new things through their different world. We tend to learn new things about their lives, their experiences, and we get to know a new set of people and their values, and maybe a basis for how we will go on to redefine and express ourselves anew. New identity formation and constructions are inevitable in this New Place of LOVE.

 As a filmmaker, my curiosity would be to explore how all these would manifest in visual representations – Private V Public?

Thanks Breda for another refreshing way that we can explore New Place.

tender?

can a ‘new place’ be a face of someone we just met? someone we are falling in love with?

we can be innovative in different ways

Hello Didier

It would be great if you can decide how you want to approach NEW PLACE – I have already shared with you and Bindu how I want to approach NEW PLACE. I have expressed and defined what I want to do in the context of NEW PLACE, which is only a concept or a general theme.

You are in Cameroon – I suggest you interpret or work out your own definition for yourself – the way you define NEW PLACE does not have to be similar to my own definition or to Bindu’s. We don’t have to fit into one little hole – where is the beauty of difference?

You said: “I have a myriad ideas of NEW PLACE in my mind. It s so many each day I just dream of an old place :)” – this is good, choose one of the ideas, and then get on with developing it. If you decide to “dream of an old place…”, it’s up to you. But I suggest it’s better to Act, rather than be in a state of playful dreaming – it will be much easier because we have a task at hand.

Just define NEW PLACE the way you want – then move on to determine/decide how you will use photography, etc, to express (whether it’s through Objects, People, or whatever you want) – if you want to “include the effect de suprise part of NEW PLACE” it’s up to you – this will be how you have chosen to interpret the theme.

But remember that NEW PLACE does not have to be about YOU personally, the artist at all.

Didier, you said: “The Newness dear Ladies, dear women reside in innovating.” If this is how you choose to define or interpret NEW PLACE, this is great.
Please Note: Our 3 perspectives and definitions of NEW PLACE and how we explore the theme don’t have to do the same thing, or do not have to fit – No, we should not work towards making our perspectives fit. Why should our perceptions fit?

Bindu suggested that we should each explore our different perceptions of NEW PLACE – this is why I agreed to the whole idea. This is what makes it attractive for me. So if you want our ideas to fit, then it’s problematic, and rather than going round and round in a circle, maybe we could stop!

A joint project does not necessary mean that we have to be in the same place or produce work that is similar. As already said in many different ways, NEW PLACE is our common theme. You as an artist should find your own way to explore this theme. Please Didier, if you find this hard to comprehend, then STOP, and then you can research and develop your own personal project with a subject matter or theme that you want, and then submit an Individual Proposal when the time comes.

I have already made it clear what I would like to do within the wider context of NEW PLACE. If this does not sound “innovative” then too bad. Innovation in art can also be about hearing New Voices, Seeing familiar stereotypes in New ways. Some people have not Spoken; others have not been Seen – and they are many ways of seeing!!!!

Greetings.

Florence

Patience

Good Morning Florence,

I m glad to have read from you .I pressume you re doing well.

I m doing well, very well.It is a hot day here but it gives me wings.

It s a big thrill to be in here again and it”s just too fantastic how communiaction can be.

I appreciate Florence your insights into  human properties and their influence  it has on our work/mental production. Being human is however to my view point the best thing though ; that could ever happen to us. :)

However, I seem still not to be understood.

My aim of wanting us to discuss is legitimate and my intentions of wanting we have an operational definition for the THeme NEw Place  is scientifical.

I perfectly agree with us having to work in our ways , in the manner we percieve what a New Place is both to/for us and others Florence you pointed this fact-Maybe what would ‘not be Common’ would be our method or form for exploring the theme.
.This is what makes our differences.However if it s a joint project – that is we propose three different perceptions of the same concept- I believe there should be something common in our work in all cases. NEW PLACE is a concept and thus it is general.I have a myriad ideas of NEW PLACE in my mind.It s so many each day I just dream of an old place :). That is why to avoid been comfronted in trying to use several manners to approach this problem, I want to focalise myself just on one defintion.Don t you see it will be much easier.

If Dear Florence and Bindu we can define A NEW PLACE that is find to it a common denominator to our different perceptions of it , then all will be okay.

The issue of Identity, Culture is quite interesting but it is limitating . I suggest we include the effect de suprise part of NEW PlACE. I see it like if someone would for example Florence or you Bindu see your work they ll feel It s a NEW PlACE .Our brains hate what is new , we feel almost always comfortable with same cognitive maps.Talking about what people don t talk is new.Showing it in arts is new. Showing it in our specific ways in delicate subtilities is new.

A NEW PLACE is a sign , a symbol which makes my brain think of the word New and Place. NEW PlACE is also a concept.You See Ladies there are so many ways of seeing this thing.If our definition does not fit our different perceptions how can we work.?

I m sorry if I sound/look too sturborn It ‘s just that I find this issue very interesting and I d like we do somethng good please.I know you too have teh same feeling.

I ll agree democratically to keep developing my way of seeing New Place in the realm of the already stated definition but I wanted to share with you my worries of working without thinking of a method which we can use differently quite alright but arrive to what is intended .It will be like a sort of a sceince of arts.Will it not be beautiful.

See Dear Bindu and Florence. If I use photography  specifically, you Bindu Your Technique, and you Florence your own specific techniques. That is our own  methods belonging to our specific domains of action, in what way will this be innovating.

The issue of newness if I m not wrong resides in doing or coming into contact with things which we ve not been in contact with. Even though logically speaking the notion of newness is absurd.It  s not the problem here.

See Ladies I have such a passion for this Project , I find it just too nice.

I ve never held a paint brush or any specific tool pertaining to the paintings .I have never help a good Video camera to say what I want to  say.This is new to me.This could be an example of my NEW PLACE. it s an experience something I live then share with others irrespective of their culture.

I want just like you to move on but we should rather move slowly and well than move on when the format of our work is “not good”.

I feel totally comfortable with using any technique  which is not mine to do what I imagine of  as a NEW PLACE.

I began with texts, I sent one yesterday. what did you think of it? can it help us move?

The Newnes dear Ladies , dear women resides in innovating.

:) Sincerely this Project is just too cool :).I ve never learned so creatively.It s just the begin.

Lets be a little bit more patient please.Lets say that by the end of next week lastest,we should have a definition which suits  us all and on which we can work differently.This is our link in the different.Bindu I really loved this thought you pointed out. If we don t democracy will preveal.

I imagine art after this way. A New Place.

However, as Elizabeth Loftus says it is horrble to realize that what we think firmly as been true is indeed nothing at all.That is why I ll move on with your lovely ideas – indeed- even if you still do not savvy me.:).

Please have a lovely day.

Didier de Masso.

Moving on!!

Hello Bindu & Didier

Desire, Action, Will, Choices, Options, Time, Patience, Ideas, Creative energy and so on – we have all these. Let’s just do it

Bindu just posted this today 10th:

Time is short we need to communicate more often, everyday, or alternate- applicable to all of us.”

I agree with this, and I am sorry that today is 10th February and the last time I posted a message was on February 8th.  On this point, I had written quite a lot, and responded to Bindu’s suggestions, while sharing details about how I saw “the way forward” her suggestion. I believe that we had spent a long time having positive discussions about our theme of NEW PLACE.

I strongly believe that through our many communications, we have had many Actions and Reactions that have generated positive discussions around and about our theme of NEW PLACE.  Some how, some of our recent communications felt like we were almost starting again from scratch to begin ‘discussing’ – I felt we had at least agreed on how to approach NEW PLACE.

With regards to our ‘General’ theme of New Place, I am very delighted that Bindu had suggested (sometime ago) that 3 of us could develop something around this theme.     When I look back at some of our discussions/communications, I can see clearly that we had spent a lot of ‘Productive’ time discussing, defining and sharing our ideas about NEW PLACE. We also spent some time talking about  the MASKS we choose to wear at various times and so on. For me, these discussions helped me a lot with how I wanted to approach or formulate a way of exploring our chosen theme of New Place.

It was very wonderful again when Bindu asked, “Can our work not be about our 3 different perceptions of a New Place?” – for me, this was a solution to how we could work on this theme and I agreed and said so quickly – Again, I was very pleased about this and I did write about some of my ideas and brief indications of how I would like to approach the theme of New Place. And I think that we have variously shared our views and definitions of NEW PLACE in some of our dialogues.

Actually, I am comfortable with the idea of 3 of us individually finding ways to interpret or define how we perceive NEW PLACE. So I was surprised when Didier said (direct quote) “In the unavalailability of an operation definition of New Place, I thus in order to work had to conceive my own defintion.” I was not expecting that a definition will come from someone – the idea/theme was open for interpretation, as we wanted…

Maybe I got the wrong impression, but I genuinely felt that we had agreed on approaching the theme of NEW PLACE in the way Bindu had suggested (great idea!). This is why I shared my ideas on the 7th of February as repeated here: “About our NEW PLACE project – my take on this would be issues around Identity & Belonging for a person in the Diaspora. How one constructs ‘identities’, (even though these could be unstable or changing from time to time), and how one feels & negotiates a sense of ‘belonging’. How does one locate the ‘self’ between two worlds? Is there a sense of being in a state of constant flux when a person tries to navigate between the worlds of origin and the adoptive country? Are we (people in the Diaspora) constantly reproducing ourselves anew when we move between the two very separate cultural spaces? Do we find that we are always in a New Place because of shifting and changing our positions – both mentally and physically? These are some of the questions and issues I would like to explore with this project; and I am interested to see how these would manifest in visual representations. I had indicated in my previous communication that, I would attempt to explore these ideas/issues through other people.”

On the 8th of February, I said, “I have to work out quickly if the people I look for should be first or second Diaspora generation, or a mixture (that is one of each?)…” – I was trying to share with you both an aspect of my research strategy; it was not a sign that I was in a hurry – I am sorry if it came across like this. I am just very conscious of the fact that this is the period of researching and developing our ideas – I was merely being realistic, and acting according to the Time we have. We have a period dedicated our research & development of ideas before we submit our proposals – these processes take time. My time, (like all/most of us), is not solely devoted to IAA project. My research will require a certain amount of traveling to search/look for the appropriate participant (s) out there in the real world.

On the 3rd of February, I wrote “When we started this discussion about a collaborative project, I said that I am curious to explore the idea of NEW PLACE by looking at how others deal with the challenges or questions of ‘belonging’ and a state of being in-between two worlds that are in essence ‘New Places’ of sorts.
On the question of form, I would like to express my desire to use both still and moving images to explore the notion of NEW PLACE. I am thinking about a very short visual piece that would use Montage, Split screen and other filmic elements to communicate ideas, feelings and the meaning of a New Place for particular persons (x 2) at a particular locale in time.”

I assumed that because I had expressed all the above, I had communicated how I wanted to approach the theme of New Place.

Again, I had assumed that we were going to individually produce separate pieces of work, using our various art forms to express and communicate our ideas of NEW PLACE – especially because of our 3 very different locations. Also, we have budgetary issues to consider in relation to the realization of our projects.

On the 8th, Bindu posted this:
Lets try to suggest to each other some works that we could see, refer to or watch some films on youtube? Any takers?”

Sorry Bindu, I have no examples of works to suggest – My resource and exploration of my sub theme of ‘Identity & Belonging’, based around our general theme of NEW PLACE would come directly from the ‘Person (s) or Participant that I choose for the piece, and again, here are the questions that I wish to explore using the theme of NEW PLACE – “How one constructs ‘identities’, (even though these could be unstable or changing from time to time), and how one feels & negotiates a sense of ‘belonging’. How does one locate the ‘self’ between two worlds? Is there a sense of being in a state of constant flux when a person tries to navigate between the worlds of origin and the adoptive country? Are we (people in the Diaspora) constantly reproducing ourselves anew when as we move between the two very separate cultural spaces? Do we find that we are always in a New Place because of shifting and changing of positions – both mentally and physically?”
My desire is to explore these questions through one or two persons, and I would like to make a 3-5 minute creative/experimental documentary film.

Let me say again that I am happy for us to explore NEW PLACE from our very 3 different perspectives.

I don’t feel that any of us should feel we ‘have to make this project as a collaborative piece’ – we have been give a choice – work individually or present a joint project. It’s up to us. However, for me personally, the idea of us (3) interpreting the theme of NEW PLACE  in whatever way we choose is seductiveappealing & challenging

I have been very excited about just getting on with it and finding my own way to explore, interpret and express the concept of NEW PLACE.  Oh, and I did warn you both that I am plain and boring in how I want to approach the theme. I can only do what I know, and what I am comfortable with. There are times when I refuse to wear a MASK.

I hope all is clear so far as I am concerned. Time is limited; I do not have endless time to spend thinking and discussing or saying the same thing over and over again.

The Budget is not unlimited. And also, our 3 different locations will impose a limitation to the possibility of working together in the same Space.

We all have our own ideas of NEW PLACE – why don’t we just get on and develop something, from our different perspectives, using our different art forms, and we see if the IAA team is keen or interested.

Warm greetings Beautiful minds.

Florence

xxx

Re : the way forward

Yes Florence you re are right when you talk about how people who are in the rural areas change in response to a new envirnoment that  is  adapt.As urbanisation and the gradual access of IT’s spread , the gap is becoming little.When I go to the village there is only an enviromental difference.Is it good or bad? It is there and it is happening all the time these days.We re living an information era.

I begin to understand your conception of ‘New Place’ and I love the tint it is gradually having.:)

However, I love to think that Culture is no hindrance  to growth and experience and that apart from our culture - enculturation there is transculturation and aculturation.It could be interesting to know how the merging or mixing of different cultures has on the mentalities of people.

I m trying to find a way to use photography to express what I think. it s very conceptual . Reality is Reality fortunately.

It should be “New” our work it should meet up to the defintion we re trying to have of a ‘New place’.

Thank you for your Insight Big Sister Florence. Thank you.

Didier.

Thank you Bindu.

Thank you Bindu for this other formulation.

I have understood you because I used what you had long said as thinking matter.

You have answered to some of my questyions , I thank you for that .Some questions have still no answer.

There still remains the action in the form of an intiative

You suggested text or video material we could discuss on.

I m still waiting. I d like to begin.

What we re doing is a big challenge. Discussing about something systematically pratical via machines who don t undersatnd the lesat thing to what we say.They even distort the semantic of our discourse.Normally It would have been much easier.But thsi is our challenge.To construct something in roup or self that should reflect reality as a whole.

Rest assured Bindu you were well understood by me , I just wanted to begin with your idea.I found it interesting.

I learn everyday and I ve learned already so much with you Bindu and Florence.

Somethings are really new to me , I better ask than to pretend I know.That is why I ask questions.How can one know if they don t ask questions? Empirism? It has limits.

Lets stay calm and focused we ll have something good :).

I shoot this today !.

Didier de Masso

I loved the manner in which This philosopher said what he said.I loved most how it was pasted on the wall.

Suppose a big place and we have to fit in things into it from which way shall we begin? With photography , I  can bring all part of time together and only language can make the difference. We re part of the life we create even without knowing.

It s a lovely day.I hope Bindu you re doing well and you Too Florence.

point wise

Hi Didier, I dont think you have understood me, maybe language…

anyhow i will write point wise which will make things simpler.

1. i dont care if my idea is put aside for something better or more interesting.

2. A ‘New place’  can be  a non object.

3. A New Place does exist, depends upon how one tends to look at it and from where one tends to look at it. It is a question which can have multiple answers.

4. Time is short we need to communicate more often, everyday, or alternate- applicable to all of us.

5. 3 people make 3 separate works which together make one work, or 3 diff works, not complete in themselves to make one work. logistics need to be defined.

6.We can work individually on the same defined concept and then bring it together whilst editing. the definition  could be operational.

7. we can work in a series of pairs. Bindu and Didier , then Bindu and Florence , then Florence and  Didier we try to merge ideas and techniques, though i am not sure how feasible this will be taking time into consideration.

sorry for writing like this, kind of makes it easier for me,

Cheers,

Bindu

An Idea !

If We consider A ‘New place’ as a non object that is something our minds fabricate ,this gives us more ways to forge something concrete.

 I will like to think and believe  That the concept of ‘New Place’ is very subjective and in fact intimate.However , in reality what is new?

The Quote you posted Bindu and the comprehension you had from it is pretty.I loved it. It made me reflect.

I see it this way now.A big place with no limits but which has to be filled in by things and by people.It has to have a structure.

Who has already gone to Space?

How could  it  be like to be in a place whose vastness , voidness is infinite.

Perhaps  the existance of things within our ‘New Place’  is apriori but THe ‘New Place’ exist because it ‘s part of our frabrication a sort of hallucination and delusion.

In fact, if  I understand You well Bindu  I want to ask you this question does a ‘New Place’ Exist?.

Are we not always doing things that were done before perhaps just in different manners .Our envies , desires not so much common.

Are we ever going to have a home?.

Is it not human to tend to perfection?.

what is beyond this ‘New Place’? Why Can t we think simply of something else than it? But what? But What?

Why should A ‘New place ‘even be  a place.Something real. I think there is a mot d esprit here.

Are these the right questions to  ask ? I don t know lets discuss.

Re: Action

Indeed we have to act. It is a very Fantastic statement Breda.Action might be a combination of desire and will.
In fact our creative processes seem to be working to solve this problem..I have alway wanted to know how the artist’s mind reacts to pressure.I like thinking that an artist is free in his practice of his arts as long as he has a method. The freedom is not strico senso. However , in a context of à- la -carte art how dotheir mind work?.I mean ideas have a base, a clear sustratum.Their coherent associations another base and their materialsation finally  another base.
How can we from different view points find something tangible.Something innovating , something good?I propose threess ways. This DOES not in any way Dera BIndu exclude your proposal.In fact it seems like it fits into the second methodology.

We can work individually on the same defined concept and then bring it together – we discuss about our work and put it into context.If the definition is operational it will make a lot of sense.

Secondly we can work in a group.If that is your idea Bindu lets proceed with the brainstorming.

Thirdly we can work in a series of pairs. Bindu and I , then Bindu and Florence , then Florence and I.Having in come the them of our work.we try to merge ideas and techniques.

Another alternative will be do have ” no idea”  no theme to work from.We could go to a site or watch a movie or  read/analyse a text.

Sincerely Bindu my problem is to  know which method to use.If the method will yield the best proposals and in a less time.We cannot ingnore the time factor .
 Talking agai about he capacity to act, it is important to note the driving force of our actions are several and desire and will are just a few of them.
Motivation is a sinequanon for the mind to act.
Lack of will , sucide , crimes, behaving in a nought shell , living are related to motivational factors be they intrinsic or not.

I agree with you Bindu it might seem early to try and find similarities but we have not all our time.In this type of problme solving our brains have to analyis fast.Where can we find the drive to surpase the inhibitions?.

Is my time awareness a hinderance to our discussions? :)

Lets discuss….

lets discuss further

Hi Didier,

I dont think we should look for similarities right now, but keep discussing and sharing ideas and views. Also we can come down to a common agreement in terms of display, presentation. Didier if Florence wants to do a video, do u feel comfortable in using photography in time/motion/moving image?  we can then discuss or watch some sites together, or some artists/texts/ films and come see what comes from it? There is no harm in discussing taboos too?

take care,

bindu

action

is a combination of desire and will, no?

Metarmorphosis : Desire and disgust up and down stairs through a door

Didier de Masso.

which way?

Thoughts

I agree with yOu Bindu  We need to have aan operationla definition if we re to have a joint project.

However I still beleive we cannot see teh same things in the same way but we CAN and that I m certain find a link to what seems to have become our theme of work : NEW Place.

We should not be scared to explore several aspects of arts , even the tabou part of it.

It s very thoughtful of yours Binu to recommend patience in this endeavour.

I m thinking that we re to do different aspects of the same thing.Thus each and every one of us brings something new to the contruction.

I hope you re both doing fine.

Please lets begin working !!!

Didier de Masso

a simple question

Hello, Its is nice to read both your ideas, but i am begining to feel that we need to clarify within ourselves as to whether  our projects are individual projects or a single project with 3 different views, then one can start collaborating further and look at our projects accordingly. to explain a bit further  on this- i mean maybe our works can be parts of a whole too, they dont need to be a complete piece in itself? also it is a simple suggestion that if we decide as to how long the whole piece will be  for example, a 3 channel projection, each channel could be about 2-3 minutes or more, it might help us in looking at the whole work in a different light.  sometimes limitations are good…?  i think one can then play around with the idea and the asthetics. also it will be nice to keep a balance between documentary and fiction and the aesthetics and emotive quality of it all. I know it is a very tough balance, but one can surely try? Florence you had metnioned- ‘I have to work out quickly if the people I look for should be first or second Diaspora generation, or a mixture (that is one of each?). Maybe you have some thoughts on this?’ I think it would be nice if you leave some things to chance as well. We are still at the proposal stage and will be nice if we first understand the idea and play around it a little more.  Lets try to suggest to each other some works that we could see, refer to or watch some films on youtube? Any takers?

Cheers,

Bindu

New Place

Dear Madames,

I m happy to rebegin communicating with you in the third axe of this Project.

As time chnages , things change and so I change too.A change is a chnage.

I have longed refleted about what you both said and here are my thoughts I will have as major premise Bindu ‘s Aphorism should I say about us – what is common about us is our differences.Scondly these differences are specifically perceptive and cognitive in this present context. In the unavalailability of an operation definition of New Place , I thus in order to work had to conceive my own defintion.

A New Place to  me represents a genesis , a zone in space and time which does not ressemble any other place.It is a singularity ; where laws which are useful in other places might not necessarily be  useful in it.  A New Place is ”new’ a priori and a posteriori.

I thus propose , to develope a series of photogaphies  which have been socially constructed by different perceptions of the world – Even though My subjects will be all cameroonians , I believe with proofs that they might not think like cameroonians do stricto sensu.Language been an important vehicule of culture , I intend to use it in my work.

The importance of my work is to show the crucial impact  globalisation has on the psyches of Africans in general but on Cameroonians in particular.It folows some long empirical work – Anthropological perspectives.

Been a photographer , I have this aptitude to manipulate my variables so as to indeed measure what I want.The Bias is controled because The themes I ll work with will be randomly choosen by the subjects themselves-double blind.I will not know them from the unset.I will just try artistically to reproduce their lovely realities.

This is my contribution.

Yaoundé is cool NOW

Warm hand shakes .

Didier de Masso.

The way forward?

Hi Bindu and Didier,

Oh no, why would you want to “… put aside my context of new place and just focus on one or two perspectives. yours and didiers…” Your original idea that we should explore New Place from 3 different perspective sounds wonderful.
When and why do people switch between languages? I believe that the comments you made about this situation could be the basis of how you could develop something? Think about it. How do people from India navigate, negotiate their way through everyday life and encounters when they are in London/UK, for example – that is, their use of language as an example of identity construction in a particular location, and time.

It would be interesting to know how and why they make a “switch between 2 or 3 different languages and speak” – language, as an important aspect of intangible cultural heritage is crucial in our desire to hold on to, to maintain some form of our cultural heritage even as we form new ‘cultures’ in our encounters with new spaces – this aspect is also important for me when I research and develop my own proposal. You will see that we will have some aspect of the content that would be similar in our projects. You may want to look at people in the city of Delhi or locate your work in London?

I have noted in my country that when people move from the rural areas to visit the city, they are completely in New Territories – they have to adjust quickly, both mentally and physically in their interaction and many other aspects. How they speak and behave matters a lot in many ways. Didier, have you noted this in any way?
How are you getting on with your NEW PLACE project idea?

I think the next stage for me now is to start looking for potential subjects for the project; my approach is much people-led (the ‘social actors’) – it’s vital to find the right people. Their comments, responses, conversations or monologues would provide important aspects of the film’s arguments/content. I have to work out quickly if the people I look for should be first or second Diaspora generation, or a mixture (that is one of each?). Maybe you have some thoughts on this?

It’s sometimes best to start with what one knows – So to be more specific, I will be limiting myself to exploring our theme by looking at a slice of the Cameroonian Diaspora in the context of ‘Identity construction’ and the notion of New Place.  That’s me.

Warm greetings – spring is almost in the air!!!

Florence

In time

:) It rained today and I asked to know if it was normal it does this period of Ferbuary.

A farmer told me it is possibkle as it rained seldom during december.

He was happy as ploughing the soil when it rains is less tidious .

In time I ll begin my ploughing.

Greeting Dear Florence and Bindu and dear Bindu and Florence.I hope you ve been all doing well. I have just been in other sorts of vortexes of sensations.

Reply

Hello Florence, You have put this rather well. 2 days back i went 4 dinner at some of my friends place and had this very interesting conversation on the lines that you have been talking about it. and i thought of reconstructing this conversation and recording it as well. what was interesting and is maybe interesting is that we often switch between 2 or 3 different languages and speak. Something which i take for granted but could be very interesting for an onlooker. just an observation. i was also thinking that i am rather happy to put aside my context of new place and just focus on one or two perspectives. yours and didiers. and yes we can start researching on this now, i think it is high time. if you have an further ideas, pl tell me.  if you want me to research on any particular site or have a look at something that too will be nice.

Cheers and look forward to hearing from you,

Bindu

Greetings

Hi Bindu & Didier,

Bindu – It’s good to read about your interesting reflections on your grandfather’s paper cutting designs, and your own art practice today. Some things don’t change with Time; but in some cases, methods of creating/making do change with Time. Seems like you have inherited his skills and passion for the arts or creating things/objects. He would be proud of you – seeing that you are doing what he loved, but with more sophisticated means now, and also reaching out to a much wider audience in different Spaces?

About our NEW PLACE project – my take on this would be issues around Identity & Belonging for a person in the Diaspora. How one constructs ‘identities’, (even though these could be unstable or changing from time to time), and how one feels & negotiates a sense of ‘belonging’. How does one locate the ‘self’ between two worlds? Is there a sense of being in a state of constant flux when a person tries to navigate between the worlds of origin and the adoptive country? Are we (people in the Diaspora) constantly reproducing ourselves anew when as we move between the two very separate cultural spaces? Do we find that we are always in a New Place because of shifting and changing of positions – both mentally and physically? These are some of the questions and issues I would like to explore with this project; and I am interested to see how these would manifest in visual representations. I had indicated in my previous communication that, I would attempt to explore these ideas/issues through other people.

If we are to come up with concrete project proposals to present to the IAA team by the time indicated, should we start researching and developing our ideas?  Have you both started? At the moment, my time is limited because of my teaching. I should make a start to find potential subjects/participants; it’s the only way I can come up with a proposal that would make sense.

Ok, I hope to read about your plans or next stage.

Greetings, 

Florence

My Studio

Probably the hardest thing I experienced after leaving  was not having my own studio space.  My room is a single room shared between two- 6 by 10 feet approximately, the space has little largish single bed, one cupboard, 2 side tables and a computer table and of course not to miss a huge white sink!!!. For me the value of money was only if one could afford a space that one could call ones own, be it a foot size, i would like to measure the size of my room by per square coins per inche.. if there is any such measurement…. probably one can fight against many odds, but there are some odds too hard to fight against and one gives in.  when people leave their homes they miss people, sights, spaces, food. i miss my luxury of that one square foot, my own studio. a place i can go to, lock the door and be with myself..

Yes it is nice to be back

Hello Didier and Florence – Its been 4 days since we were informed about the new stage, and it has felt like ages to me… as if years had passed and i had missed out on something precious in life. Anyhow Florence I think you have understood as to what I have suggested, sometimes it takes me time to formulate my thoughts. At least with this project i am slowly but surely becoming a more confident writer. When i wrote my earlier mail, i felt that i was always looking for things in common, which was based on my presumption that there were huge differences between us!!!! it felt like a strange thought to me. In searching for something in common i had already created a difference.

I normally dont quote- but this time i will -

“Speech cannot be understood if there is a pre-existing code which is institutional. Our access to spontaneity is governed by those structures which one associates with writing. This relationship between languages compels me to recognise that neither is a natural or an artificial language. I am devoted to my natural language but i cannot think it as natural, because to an extent one is never natural, one is never at home.” Gayatri Spivak.

For me a New Place will be a state of mind that is at rest yet constantly changing. Its like images can change, move, one can move from place to place, but still one is always in an eternal state of rest.

I too think this project will be nice if it is split into a three channel projection. There could be many permutations to it  but i would only have one suggestion that is that one normally talks about place in relation to time and somehow time seems to be an important factor in someways , it would be nice to retain the emotive content of this work. (maybe not the right time to say it, but just wanted to share …. )

Didier wrote something really niec- “The time in between our differet existences should not make us forget that inbtween time , things change and are even changing.”

By both of u, I will be in touch now, reading and writing and drawing.

Tk care and do write,
Bindu

Developing Ideas

Hi Bindu & Didier,

It’s nice to be back in this space again.

About our potential project; I never really expected that 3 of us would come up with similar perspectives or approach to the notion of NEW PLACE.

It’s great than Bindu has made it more explicit by suggesting that we explore or share our notion of NEW PLACE from our 3 different perspectives.

What is common as Bindu says, is our difference, and there’s ‘Beauty’ in difference; through our diverse outlooks, we can narrate, observe, interpret and share our diverse observations of the concept NEW PLACE. I think this would be great to be able to make something that provides a platform to share our ‘different perceptions’ – the commonality is both our different approaches as well as the theme of NEW PLACE. Does this make sense? Maybe what would ‘not be Common’ would be our method or form for exploring the theme. 

When we started this discussion about a collaborative project, I said that I am curious to explore the idea of NEW PLACE by looking at how others deal with the challenges or questions of ‘belonging’ and a state of being in-between two worlds that are in essence ‘New Places’ of sorts.

On the question of form, I would like to express my desire to use both still and moving images to explore the notion of NEW PLACE. I am thinking about a very short visual piece that would use Montage, Split screen and other filmic elements to communicate ideas, feelings and the meaning of a New Place for particular persons (x 2) at a particular locale in time.

Ok, I await your ideas.

Sending you both warm greetings,

Florence

New Place

Hi Didier,
I had missed reading this text and really liked what you wrote. I often fall short of words and when i read the posts of other people i realise how many things i wanted to write and to say, yet could not. For you a new place is a place, time, space that is in a constant state of flux, for me a new place is a place of absence, probably i can only describe it as a desire for a new place, i wish to go to a new place since i cannot bear being in the same old place, but when in this new place there is a nostalgia for the old and hence this process continues. hence one moves from one experience to another and lives in a constant state of homelessness. Through this project, i had been thinking of searching for something COMMON between all of us, but why cant our own perceptions, which maybe very different, be something common between us. Cannot difference be the common denominator between us? Can our work not be about our 3 different perceptions of a New Place?
Bindu

iaa dialogue official end date 17 Jan. however…

some dialogues will continue

after midnight

Thank you!

Those of you who have expressed interest in communicating beyond today’s end date  can do so by either continuing the current dialogue, or by migrating to another ‘country’ and establishing a dialogue with a new artist/filmmaker. The IAA team will stay with you.

Thank you…everyone.

Love,

Ana

nation vs continent

Hello Florence and Didier,

Well it is not about Nation vs Continent, I think African people or Asian or South American who are within their own countries are clear about their nationalities, but what happens when one leaves home and adopts another. We start using terminologies that are prevalent in our new country of abode, where by unknowingly providing food to the bee that may sting us. You have put yourself beautifully, and you are right in every aspect, the kind of work you or other artists are producing is very specific too, but in my experience I have as yet not come across any exhibition titled European Art!!! American Art , unless it is of a particular time frame. But one will surely hear of Latin American art or African Art. Of course within the genre of film/cinema the terminologies are wider and more open ended.

Anyhow we can continue this discussion when we meet. I may have to come back earlier than I thought. In a weeks time I will know that for sure.

Didier you are most welcome to come and visit us whether I am in London or Delhi, it will be a pleasure meeting you in person. Florence since the distance is a wee bit lesser!, it would be nice to meet up at either of our places. We will be moving residence as soon as I move back to London. But I will be in touch. So take care both of you and do keep in touch,

A big Hug,
Bindu

mAN no know .

Good Morning Dear Florence and Bindu.

I m happy to be able to write to you here for the last time.

To share as well some of my thoughts in image form.They ll have no title this time.

I would have liked to write yesterday but the net conection was so bad in this café.

Today it ‘s better. Tomorrow is always better than yesterday.

Florence , yes I love philosophy but I love photography more and the tow make a so much lovely mixture.

Be it with You or with Bindu whenever it might be possible we can work.

I m open to all suggestions and proposals.Even though I remain convinced that certain things seem not to be the way we think.

It is a nice day Florence , do you know that there is a Mfoundi canal been actually constructed? I pass by it every morning.In Some years Ongola wll be so much different from what we knew.

Thank you again Bindu for your insights

Thank you Florence for your thoughts about our Identity.

Thank you Breda For this fabulous arts piece.

:) Didier de Masso

Didier de Masso Didier de Masso

Didier de Masso

Have a lovely weekend :)

Yes, it’s really the end…

Hi Bindu and Didier

…yes, the end of some wonderful moments of discussions, stimulation and learning for me. Many thanks for your insightful and open discussions. I hope that we will stay in touch.

Yes Bindu, it would be nice to speak a bit more about this issue of the Continent V the Country and our thinking within and beyond.  I believe that many African people are very clear about their specific Nationalities, and that their sense of pride comes from this specificity of Nationhood. And for many artists, thier work shows this. Maybe, my position is that the kind of work I am attempting to do is not limited to my National boundary; or I should say I would prefer not to geographically restrict my thinking about what I do – so when I speak/show  Cameroon in my film, I believe that I am showing about aspects of African culture and lived experiences; just like making a film about women in Zanzibar reveals something about women in that space as well as an aspect or a slice of reality about women on the continent. The Pan-Africanist would see this.

Actually, there’s a movement called Third Cinema – a counter and independent cinema that “opposes dominant film institutions”  – Latin American Cinema, African Cinema, etc – it’s a collective…

Ok my dear friends, stay well and be safe.

Florence

A big hug to both of you

Hi Florence,
Well I completely understand where you are coming from, honestly I do. Not to say that you have explained yourself beautifully. But if one were to go by what you say, then such was the case with many countries all over the world- India, Bangladesh, Pakistan were once upon a time a single country. South American continent has also had similar colonial expereinces as people from the African Sub-continent. But we all are very clear about our nationalities and because we are clear and make ourselves clear then people or the media do not type cast us any further in one single group. The time frame is rather short here but it would be nice to speak with you about this. Probably when I come back it will be nice to meet up with you and talk about it. I myself am sensitive about it when i see human beings not being treated on equal footing for any reason, be it nationality, race, colour, gender, wealth. education, religion. When I wrote to you and Didier in my  last mail, I gave the title -what do I want – a home- which was just a title in some ways. Probably a new place is not only moving from a country to another country, it is looking for a utopian place where none of the above states of mind exist, a perfect place/land where there is no discrimination of any sort.  I know that this place does not exist outside but within me,  yet  I keep moving , searching , looking, yearning, hoping.  I am not sure if I have been able to put myself across to you clearly and simply ( but I have a feeling that you will understand). Well tomorrow is the last day. Eline has my email id and I am on facebook as well. Do keep in touch. I will write again.

A big hug to both of you,
Bindu

The Ultimate drug for me

When making art I feel as if I am touching boundaries of my knowledge and trying to extent them. Emotionally its a great celebratory excitement interchanging regularly with feelings of disappointment and loss.

x Andro

About the project…it’s complicated…

Hi Bindu & Didier

It’s sounds like Didier would prefer to philosophize about NEW PLACE? We evolve, and people, things, ideas, attitudes change with time, all the time. But maybe the least we can do is find a way to explore how we see things at a particular moment in time? – for we know that what we see and record today (like the flower you talked about) will not be there tomorrow.

Bindu’s idea sounds interesting – for her to travel between 3 cities, and in that process, reference the idea of a NEW PLACE or HOME. For Florence – “coming back home again…” the main problem with this is that I travel a lot to Cameroon. If I had been away for a very long time, then I could see how this process could enable me to reflect further  on my ‘New Place’ in the Diaspora.

 Bindu, it would be great to see your impressions & reflections of ‘NEW PLACE’ in 3 cities as someone in search of a ‘home’ within this context, how have you defined what ‘home’?

 Personally, I am still very much curious to explore the idea of NEW PLACE by looking ‘outward’ – to see how others deal with the challenges and/issues of being ‘here’ and the strategies for finding a balance – one foot in, and one foot out, ‘belonging here’ and having an outward look to homeland for certain comforts: a state of being in-between two worlds that are in essence ‘New Places’ of sorts.

I think I sound so plain and boring here compared to how you both would like to explore the idea of new place – sorry! All I can do is be me and be honest.

Greetings from Florence

more reflections…

Hello Bindu & Didier,

 I agree with your idea that we cannot make generalizations about Africa. I believe that my use of ‘Africa’ or ‘African’ arises from a certain awareness and consciousness of being in this specific location ‘here’ – UK. I had indicated in one of my communications that my work is a reaction, and a way to speak about what is missing, for me, here. My sensibilities of being African are more profound because I am here, and also because I encounter certain things that denigrate Africans (not Cameroonians) – these misrepresentations, absences, and so on are somehow collective, and represent something that moves beyond “country specific”.

This space we inhabit here (the dialogues) may not provide enough time to discuss in detail my position and why I speak/write the way I do. But by brief response to your suggestion that I should reflect, I will do so here with you, and offer some thoughts that underpin many things I do and how I feel. I claim to be no expert as I am still learning, everyday, about the histories, people and diverse cultures of the African continent. I am a student!

 All African people have shared experiences of past histories of slavery, colonialism, and struggles for independence & now the lived experiences of neo-colonialism. Exploitation; Resistance; Oppression are just some of the experiences of Africans and the many People whose ancestral background is African. The various ways that these people have been defined, constructed and visualized has been influenced to a large extent by their past histories and relationships with the West. My position is Pan-African, and my sensibilities, like ‘many’ (not all) African artists and those in the African Diaspora, are from a  position of an awareness of certain commonalities from our histories.

 There’s a ‘collective consciousness’ that is more powerful and stronger. I ‘cannot’ speak about a Cameroonian Renaissance; No. I ‘can’ speak about an African Renaissance. And it is within the wider context of the latter that being a Cameroonian matters to me. I am still trying to understand – I am learning.

 You see Bindu, I am a Cameroonian only by ‘accident’ – If Southern Cameroonians had voted to join Nigeria during the UN plebiscite in 1959, then today, I would be an African Woman from Nigerian. So for many of ‘us’, speaking about Africa & African, matters more than speaking about the specificity of the Country (Cameroon, Nigeria, Gabon, Senegal, Mali and so on). Even within a country, how can I start defining what is Cameroonian Culture? Cameroon is referred to as ‘Africa in miniature – we have a huge diversity of ethnic groups, with their very different customs/traditions and languages, and so on; if I was to refer to a ‘Cameroonian Culture’, I am not really sure what that would constitute.

 The continent of Africa was carved up by Europeans; Fact. When I was in secondary school, we were taught this song as part of our history sessions – here are a few lines from the lyrics of the song “We were one, and the Whiteman came with his ‘big sense’ and divided Cameroon. They came in numbers: the Portuguese, the Germans, the English and the French…”

 And because of these divisions, today we have people in Cameroon, for example, who have more in common with some people in Gabon, than with their fellow Cameroonians.

 When some of us use the word Africa, we are in no way suggesting that we are speaking for all the countries in the continent. Nor do we advocate that our work represents all of that is African; No. There’s something ‘inherent’ in the discourse of Africa, Africans, and being African. And even with this sentence, I am not suggesting that all Africans share similar sensibilities.

 Macro V Micro – sometimes it’s ok for the focus to be drawn to the Continent & People of Africa, rather than the specificity of Countries, which are in fact artificial boundaries, borders & lines drawn between people who were ‘one’. People were divided and boundaries were created – the carving up was nothing more than an administrative convenience for the colonialists. So, Brothers & Sisters were separated when a line was drawn, or in some cases, people were asked to vote, to make a choice to go East, West, North or South. Even within one country, there’s enormous diversity in certain aspects of culture and customs/traditions. And Cameroon I an example.

 So, maybe the authors of the “African remix” where looking at, and speaking about a ‘collective consciousness’ in a postmodern context – celebrating, remembering and highlighting the current state of African People and Culture in a Global context? A rebirth of something that is new – for we cannot deny that African people were separated and reshaped, and also mixed up. And sometimes as audiences, when we engage with any artwork from any country from Africa, we already have preconceptions about places, people, cultures, and so on.

 Within the broader context of works produced by people from the African continent, and its Diaspora, we will find the specificity of what has shaped and influenced the artists, as well as how they reflect their specific country. In most cases, what would be obvious is an African sensibility, and/or issues that embody post-colonial, anti-racist struggles, plus a reflection of social issues particular to the country. So categories such as African Cinema, African Literature, African-American art, African Theatre, African Music and so on, do not necessary constitute or represent everyone from Africa. Knowledge of individual countries will always be there in a piece of work, if people seek knowledge rather than information. On the other hand, no one piece of work can define or provide knowledge about a country or a people.

When I look at Ousmane Sembene’s films, I see Senegal and beyond.

 For me, a stereotypical image of Africa/Africans is when the media chooses to portray a one-sided view of the people and the countries; images of despair, poverty, disease, corruption and so on. In our ‘global village’ the mainstream media cares little to give us ‘knowledge’ about our world; rather we have ‘information’ – maybe artists do help a little to fill the gaps and missing links…

 I have not, and will never claim, or even imagine that a film about women in Zanzibar represents all African women’s passion for soccer, for example. So, the title of the work, in most cases, pinpoints, localizes or provides a focus for that specific piece of work. And when audiences see the work, what they see is not Africa: they see the specificity – specific people, locations and so on. However, a specific work can speak to many different people across nations and cultures and religions. The experiences of the women footballers in Zanzibar are universal. And the cases of domestic violence and child abuse in Sisters in Law are not a ‘Cameroonian condition’. What we never see on mainstream TV is the strength of character, the achievements, brave and intelligent women and so on.

 The need to portray people and their cultures in diverse manners, does not only relate to issues concerning Africans. The notion of shared experiences has no boundaries. So, how the mainstream media portrays categories such as gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality is very relevant to how I find a way to question or complicate images of African people.

 I am an African Woman from Cameroon, living in Britain. Fact! Woman; African; Cameroonian – I embody all these in terms of how I see myself and how I approach my work. People can see other aspects of African culture and people through a film that speaks about life in Cameroon.

I hope I have made some sense…

Greetings from Florence

It ‘s over

The dry season is something. Life is very strange.The air , the food, the interactions are queer.

I loved this dry season though.The air was good , very very good , like silk.It was warm and light.

The sun was harsh true but not too much.

Now it  sall over as it just rained.

Everywhere smells the smell of mosit earth.

It s all over to rebegin in some time all over again !.

The Time in between and inbetween time

Bonjours.

It is nice to read from you again !!. Really nice indeed :)

I realise with great joy that the location in which we are in- virtual – lets say so has gradually and greatly modelled our representaions of time and space. I know it might be simple to say so as the cognisance of ‘New place’ is not seemingly new to you both.

I have read intensely your dialogues( recent) and I could resume that there is a real desire to sustain our own identity first then our cultural and social identities secondly. It is just so human amazingly but so crucial still. What should Imagining arts after mean to us now then? Which type of humans are we growing into? How will  humanity look like in 100 years. Still so many questions about The Humans we re. Questiosn which ahve this in come .Time

However ,the project we re to mount then make true is thus on A ‘New place ‘. I m happy to know this.You were thus right Bindu time made me digest  what I had eatten with you too – the thought of  a potential project is ripened – and I now realise that it is  inbetween time that passes that things really happen. Changing and changes are unpredicatble  andyet neccesary.The confsuion is great within this issues but it manifest a problem; the one of how the experiences we make influence on us experiencing further experiences .

To me it is very difficult to understand phenomenologically what  a ‘New place is ‘. The defintion of it brought by Bindu in one of her post was clear academically but I still find difficulties having a place in this New place.It s just that I think I m part of a generation of young cameroonians, young humans stricto sensu whose vision of the world has been  altered due to the passage , the rapid passage beteween two worlds.The old one caracterised by the lives of my parent still culturally sound and a new world caracterised by novel norms and values ellicited as a result of globalisation.I m sytematically not just my singular product as intrinsically my will power could alter this experience but as well a product of time and time differences. I m the product of others too.

It is thus difficult for me to see a ‘New place’ as a place where I can behave like you both ?  En passant, What is a New place to me.? Where is my home?.In reality I don t know. I have been bathed by so many things in my life so many chagges .  Changes which change so fast .No change is permannet so I keep changining all the time thus.A New place would thus be another concept , just another concept ,another food for thought , a part of the universe where I rebegin what was already done by someone else or now by me. It is so nice to have to think that one can restart from the begining .It ‘s really refreshing this idea of ‘tabula rasa’. Vacuum . New in its content and potential . New Where?

‘Here’ or ‘there’?

I want simple things .To be able to create Reality by my ownself  artistically.What is real is true, it’s beyond me.I have nothing to do with it objectively speaking.It imposes itself.

A New place  is not a ‘New place’.To me A new place would be in relation to our project as wella  way of showing how time makes things to change and how we have changed . Also why it is important for us to change mentalities as time changes as well. Do we belong to our self? Uour Identity does it make sense now again?

It is like a dream .Moving through time.Delicate and strange , soft and hard .A vortex of what we know and don t know.

I think it is a matter of time and space ‘New Place’ , the manner with which we feel we belong to this world .The extent to which we feel we carry our existence well.The extent  with which we get hold of our lives and manage them in ways thet are interestingly congruent with what Is. There is really nothing new .Is there?

A ‘New place’ would enable me artistically to make see things with a collective conscious.With no judgment.Each one who should see my art work should conclude not on what I subjectively showed but on what I showed really.Indeed, There is nothing new in what I create.

A new place like this has enabled me to understand my reference points .To refine my identity as beign.Who are my? where are my moving into?How?

A new place has enabled me to  be convinced that life again more than ever is a process of interaction.As suprisingly as it might seem in the thought process we elaborate , our cognitions constantly are renewed and reshuffled when in interaction with  the new that is  what is not known as ideas. I imagine arts after. This place differently and I think this will and is enabling me to be better already. Thank you!!

Time seems again to be one of my favorite themes. And as I write it comes to me what you restated ; what Do ‘I’ want? What do I really want? what Do I ‘really’ ,’ really’ want both’ here’ and ‘there’? I was thinking of removing the quotation marks in these words. As I was saying These phrases you wrote resonates within me very strongly.

What do i want?

Could we dream of a moment in our existence where by we would just seem to tend to our ideasl but effectively incarnate tehm and be them?. We do arts for a lot of reasons.I do arts for a lot of reasosn.One of the most important of them is that I love communicating.I would like to be able to say things as thy re.Things are essentially simple.By essence nature is simple says Hideki yukawa.Cheikh Hamidou Kane and  léopold Sendar Senghor link us to universality. I think that is who I savvy them.A common denominator for so many  differences.

I dream of unity , peace , love and creativity.

The time in between our differet existences should not make us forget that inbtween time , things change and are even changing.Perhaps there will be a time where arts will be something else.what? a common and harmonious way of living?

Didier de Masso

The Time inbetween and inbetween time

African culture

Hi Florence n Didier,
Florence I really like the fact that you are making films that help in addressing ‘other’ aspects of African culture and trying to make it visible. But here I would like to pinpoint one single suggestion, please do reflect on it..
In 2005 I when I went for my residency to France, I saw an exhibition in Pompidou center, a group exhibition titled ‘Africa Remix’. Though the works were very interesting the show for me was very unsatisfactory. I failed to understand as to how can one have an exhibition of a whole continent in one show/exhibition. There are so many countries in the African continent, but maybe it is easy to categorize people of a particular colour and put them in a single catagory. If we want to break this stereo-typical image, it would now be nice if one can be more country specific. The more we address separate countries, even within our own conversations, the more awareness will be created, and probably in time everyone will stop catagorising others by colour only or by their continents. We maybe able to build awareness of different countries and their many varied cultures. I am not sure if I have been able to write or express myself properly. What do you think Didier?
Congratulations once again for ZANZIBAR SOCCER QUEENS.
About New Place- I kind of wrote spontaneously in my last mail titled – “What do ‘I’ want? A home”. And probably found a link between all three of us-
Probably Didier is part of a thought process which belongs to being born and brought up in ones own country, Florence- having moved from her own country to her now adopted home, and me moving from one country to another searching for a home. connotations.
Maybe part of the process could also be both of us visiting Cameroon for a period of time. For Florence it will be coming back home again, so that when she goes back to her other home in UK, it might assist her further in understanding her ‘New Place’ in relation to her position in the Diaspora. For me it may be interesting to take video shoots of Delhi, Yaounde and London with some text referencing the idea of a new place or a home. Didier, we are still waiting for some sort of idea from you. Please tell us as to what you think. Florence?
Cheers,
Bindu

What do ‘I’ want? A home.

‘It is one of the peculiar characteristics of human wanting that it always involves being persuaded about what it is one should want.’

Hi there, I feel this is a very simplistic approach to looking at life and our own experiences. I do not completely disagree with you, but agree only partially. If such was the case probably we would never had an Einstein or Tagore or Pushkin or Dostoevsky or Van Gogh for that matter.

If our loves and hates, our likings and our curiosities, our passions and aversions ‘come under conceptual definition, manipulation and control’, then there is no natural state in which we can live, or to which we can return.
Here I would like to mention that you probably once again are right, but again just because one has not encountered someone in a natural state, does not mean that there is no natural state in which one can live or to which one can return.
‘Indeed, the whole notion of a natural state, or significant origin, is itself one of those culturally generated conceptual definitions.”’
Ok, just for the sake of discussion, we take it that this natural state was culturally generated, that means someone, somewhere, somehow created or generated this idea of a natural state. This idea was created, creation cannot exist in a state of vacuum. That someone, or the society could not simply have imagined it. For imagination to exist also there needs to be a source, some references, those references cannot be abstract ideas, they too must have an origin. And since that source of origin must exist, hence man must have a natural state, it cannot be culturally generated. For any thought to exist there has to be a pre- existing thought.

‘Whether in country of origin or in country of destination, one burning question seem to overlap – What is it that we really want? What do you really want your art or filmmaking to do?’
My art practise, problematises themes such as rigidity, orthodoxy, hegemony and tradition of all kind of political structures whether global, national, local or inter-personal. Hence my work covers many different and varied issues, but they do not tend to be country specific. This leads me to reply to your thought on the unimportance of ones country of origin in reference to ones art practise.

You may not think that it is important to reflect on ones country of origin or of destination but I think it is very important in todays time, when people at large are migrating, resettling, relocating again and again all over the world. I have met many people, especially artists who are moving home consistently, exhibiting for short spaces of time and then moving on. There may never be a record of their works in history, since they much like the banjaras, live in a particular place for sometime earn their living, exhibit and move on to newer experiences. This generation of people, who are migrants are much different than people who migrated 20 years back from Asia or Africa. Their thought processes are different, and the reason for migration are also different. Probably Didier is part of a thought process which belongs to being born and brought up in ones own country, Florence- having moved from her own country to her now adopted home, and me moving from one country to another searching for a home. Hence the art work that is produced has different meaning and different connotations.

Bindu

What ‘I’ really, really want both ‘here’ and ‘there’…

In response to “what do ‘I’ want?”

 I am currently working on a paper on the politics of representation in which I’m hoping to highlight and discuss some ideas including how African film practice/African cinema (an important art form) can render ‘other’ aspects of African culture & People visible.

The kinds of documentary films that I have made, and would like to continue making, are the ones that allow me to provide something that is missing – a way to say something different about African people and their lived experiences; to refocus and redefine we have been represented. So, at the other end, my desire is to find a way that viewers/audience (through TV, Internet, film festivals, etc) can imagine and speak about African people differently.

So, when audiences encounter or engage with my documentary films that show a slice of ‘real’ life in Africa, I hope they can begin to imagine something that is different from, and also challenges, the status quo, the dominant staple diet of negativity. I hope that on a very small scale, the viewer can begin to imagine something different through my doc films.

Even if viewers choose not to imagine Africa differently through these ‘new’ perspectives, the important thing is that we have spoken. And to speak, (when ‘others’ have mostly spoken for you or about you), is a way to validate your own experience from your own perspective. The act of saying something different from the status quo is an act of resisting how we have been defined.

There are ‘many different ways of seeing’, and my ideas discussed above are not only in relation to Africans – these ideas relate to any community, people, or group in society that is misrepresented, marginalized, under-represented or absent in mainstream media. With regards to the notion of Representation, something very important happened, or changed, when Women started making films.

Let me leave you with what Ousmane Sembène, our late Father of African Cinema once said “…it is up to us to create our values. When others ignore us, should we ignore ourselves? Of course not. In the dark, even if others don’t see me, I see myself, and I shine.”

Greetings from Florence Ayisi


What do ‘I’ want?

“All blueprints of what people should be like are at once denials of reality and attempts to create it anew. It is one of the peculiar characteristics of human wanting that it always involves being persuaded about what it is one should want. This persuasion, which takes many forms – from brainwashing to education, from seduction to conversation – is one way of describing the experience of growing up in any society.

The wanting without which human survival is impossible is symbolically organised; wanting is inextricable from what our societies tell us we should want. If our loves and hates, our likings and our curiosities, our passions and aversions ‘come under conceptual definition, manipulation and control’, then there is no natural state in which we can live, or to which we can return. Indeed, the whole notion of a natural state, or significant origin, is itself one of those culturally generated conceptual definitions.”

Whether in country of origin or in country of destination, one burning question seem to overlap – What is it that we really want? What do you really want your art or filmmaking to do?

yes, it’s not yet over

Dear Didier & Bindu,

I’m now officially back at my regular work after the December break.

Didier, I posted a very long dialogue yesterday 11th – so you are not having a monologue, yet, and I agree that IAA not yet over. It’s going to be hectic for me for the next few days as I joggle between my work and also try to deal with festival requests for my film, ZANZIBAR SOCCER QUEENS. I’m delighted that even though I completed this film in 2008, I am still having requests from festivals – the recent requests are from a football festival in Berlin, women’s film festivals in London, Vienna and here in Wales.

And more so, I have been reflecting on the very fruitful conversations that we have been having over the past few weeks; thanks to you and Bindu’s enriched discussions.

So, are you involved in any way with  the events celebrating our (Cameroon -Francophone zone) independence? I wish I was in Cameroon. It would be interesting to find out what people feel, think, believe that we have achieved since we became ‘independent‘ from France. I have heard that the events will run till the end of the year. Do you plan to use your photography to explore any issues/themes around these celebrations? I am curious, as always.

So, have you given any more thought about the potential project about ‘New Place’? Well, as you will see from my last posted communication yesterday morning, I have already provided you and Bindu with a brief idea of what I  am hoping to explore.

Bindu, you are back now in Delhi; I hope the residency went well, at least as you expected. Good luck with your (second) exhibition in Delhi – the one with the Henna designs?

Back when I have more to communicate.

Greetings to you both from Florence

It’s not yet over

It s not yet over.We still have 5 more days .  I will like to imagine that I m here talking to myself. But it will be a delusion.It is already

A Dialogue becoming a monologue. It would be  like trying to be in touch with my inner self. Like the pure silence of the night and its candid contents.hands in gloves

It s calm in here and inbetwen this time that does not cease to flow something has to happen , something is happening.What? where? how?

where are you?

It was a lot of fun

Before it all ends , I would like to thank Breda for this Brilant idea then you Both folrence and Bindu for have enable this New place to be really comfortable.Time  passed so fast and it was always with a renewed desire one came here.

Florence I would opt happily for the proposal made my Bindu and restated by you !!.

I hope you had a nice week debut you both.

On est ensemble !!

The Curtains will drop soon…

 Hello Bindu & Didier,

Bindu, sorry about the problems with finding the right Internet café, and it’s nice to hear from you despite the troubles. So, it was a shorter residency than I had thought. Then you are back to your ‘homeland’ home, then your London ‘home’, then Canada; on the move! I hope we will connect when you are in London if you have time before you jet off to Canada?

 Didier, I am not sure if ‘we’ can “say all what is” – even if language, or our mastery of language were not ‘poor’

 With regards to the question of masks – Didier & Bindu, it’s a bigger question and a subject that will always remain with ‘us’ (as people) so long as they are rules; expectations; the need to conform; questions of etiquette; so long as we have dreams; our desires and so on. Sometimes what we want/desire may not allow us to disarm, to be ourselves’ or remove the mask for we may become vulnerable or completely lose that which we desire; it’s a challenge, and a big issue and most often, a ‘personal one’. If your mask takes you where you want to be, or provides you with the ease to deal with what is at hand; then being a little frightened could be a small price to pay. It’s nice that you also saw the funny side of your mask…the binary helps. One good privilege is that we know our masks, we choose when to wear them, and where…

 Didier and Bindu, One final point from me about ‘Home’ – ‘Here’, (in the UK) people usually ask me “where are you from?” This alone is a sign that separates me from actually feeling that I ‘belong’. More so, in the process of ‘narrating’ where I come from, I am sometimes transported back ‘there’. The fact that this question will always exist while I’m ‘here’ means that there will always be a feeling in me that while some parts of me are firmly rooted here, my ‘place of birth/homeland’ will always be a space of certain references which also add up to my other idea ‘home’. I feel that it would be hard to dismiss the value of what a particular sense ‘Place’ holds for us – whether it’s a ‘New Place or an ‘Old’ Place. As a physical space where I own a house/home, yes I can call my space/life ‘here’ home. But Cameroon for me will always be home in the finest sense of where I come from (Nationality, Ethnicity, etc), even though as soon as I arrive ‘there’, I am considered a ‘stranger’ of sorts. In both places (here & there), I have ‘comfort zones’, and wanting to be ‘there’ sometimes makes me feel and believe in the value of many things that are missing ‘here’. It’s complicated sometimes, but these are some of the challenges of how we have ‘chosen’ to live today…they are many layers of ‘home’, because even in Cameroon, I have to place myself in the specificity of my ethnic group, my village because even though I was not born in that village, that’s how I will identify myself to another Cameroonian – many many layers of ‘home’.

 Ok, back to real business now – about this potential project that we could work on together – this is in relation and in response to one of the requirements from us for taking part in the 2009 IAA dialogues. However, nothing stops us from finding a way to develop and work on something we’re all interested in beyond the IAA overall remit. But first things first; maybe we could start with what we need to do now?

I like both your different suggestions about a potential project we could work on; Didier said we could find a link between our different ideas- if we can agree on a theme, it would be great. Bindu suggested that we could think of what a ‘New Place means to us’ – already, we have a theme here – NEW PLACE. Didier, what do you think? I personally would opt to explore the idea of a ‘New Place’ in relation to my position ‘here’ in the Diaspora – but with specific reference to ‘others’ (rather than myself); that is, Other People who share some of my experiences, and challenges. But I would prefer to be more specific about my choice of People – those who are ‘here’, in this New Place out of ‘Choice’ – not forced migration, etc.

I believe our dialogue ends on 17th.January. So maybe if we can agree on the basics – a theme such as the one Bindu has suggested (I like it). Or a theme suggested by Didier, then when the curtains have dropped, (after 17th) we can decide how we want to each approach the subject, and the contact each other by emails?

Ok, warm greetings and I look forward to the final week.

Florence

Last day in Hyderabad

Hi Florence and Didier,
Today is my last day in Hyderabad, I am very restless and would have preferred if I could have gone back today itself. Anyhow guess like me Didier you too seem restless. Now back to Delhi tomorrow and start my new project and join some editing classes. So probably I will be here for another 2 months for sure. That is till 15 march if not b4, hopefully. All this moving around now is making me restless since I am not getting that psychological space to think and reflect. It will pass too, like most things often do. So am going to sign off today. Hopefully will be in a better frame of mind tomorrow.
Tk care,
Bindu

Welcome back Bindu

I m happy to know you re doing fine and it s juts net access the problem. Today I m not doing fine .

I find it funny myself but I guess it s because I ve been very much into so many things this week.

The days however are vnice as they re all filled with interesting things.

Today I realised that the air we breathe is not the list good.The one especially in town.

New place is thus a sort of symbol? . Interesting.

Your suggestion is a good one but it is time dependent and it might take all time.If we have time good if not too bad. Too bad? No , I guess we have to imagine arts after all together .Even mentally , a mental project. I ll have a walk after this I need one !

Have a nice ending day

NEW CYBER CAFE

Hi Florence and Didier,
I had to leave since the noise in the cyber cafe was driving me nuts. It is a little more peaceful here, though the background music continues in softer tones!!!
I went to have some lunch and saw this very small black and white bird with a long tail. The tail was moving up and down much like the tail of a dog, when he or she is very excited. Well no one can say that there are no similarities between a bird and a dog!
And the lights went off and I was worried that I would have lost all the text. Thankfully it was saved and the lights are back in 5 minutes. Else my search for another cyber cafe would have continued!! Amen.
I found this on the net in reference to New Place-
‘New Place is the name given to William Shakespeare’s final place of residence in Stratford-upon-Avon during his retirement, and it is where he died in 1616. It is now owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The house rested on the corner of Chapel Street and Chapel Lane and was apparently the second-biggest dwelling in the town.’

Probably it may be interesting that instead of thinking about proposals, we think of what a new place means to each one of us. and maybe just allow the proposal to happen instead of trying to make it happen. we will find the things that interests all three of us, or where we can respond together on similar issues. And probably starting with the title given to us may be the simplest, since it belongs to all of us as well. Any takers?
If the above idea is agreeable to all of us we can set a time for chat after I reach Delhi on the 12th.
Cheers,
Bindu

back again

Hi Florence and Didier,
Well I am sitting in the cyber cafe with heavy back ground music of the traffic and the sound of television soap, trying my best to concentrate on time n space, art n language etc etc.and being driven to complete distraction!!!! I have requested to the owner to lower the volume of the sound, but within 5 minutes it is back to square one. Well I saw 2 ab performances, one was by an ivory coast band – dogbet( probably i am not writing it correctly)and another by a jazz band called china moses. Fantastic is just an understatement. i was really moved more so by china moses, by the end of the performance my heart was dancing in joy.
Anyhow, I have just one more day to go here in Hyderabad and back to Delhi and in 2 months or so in London and then may have to go to Canada for some work. So slowly things are falling in place, the next travel plans are beginning to fall in place and of course i may go down to Cameroon as well!!!! One never knows? But for sure if that happens, it is something I would have never dreamed of and am sure will be a great great experience.
Florence, you sure were being very naughty!!!! And I was laughing my heart out. You know what makes it real great to be online together… the sense of humor both of u have. I love the way Didier, is trying to be politically correct about the difference between a woman and a lady!!! Dangerous territory, ones gotta be safe!
Didier, I agree with your notion of truth, but once again, the very absolute term that you r alluding to, I dont think we as humans being can ever really understand it. I am not saying that we are not capable of, but probably v v few people may have that capacity to understand it or feel it or be it. The other truth you are referring to, is the true and false kind, and comes within the objective and subjective framework, the positive and the negative, the black and the white, hence at some level it will depend on which side of the fence one is sitting on.
Florence after reading about Masks, I went to the hotel room and looked at myself in the mirror, and tried to find out what i look like normally with or without a mask, and actually i could see the mask i wear for the people. It was very funny and frightening as well. I would not like to wear this mask… and maybe someday I may succeed. Probably we wear masks since we are scared and live in fear, fear of loss in its broadest sense. In actuality we have nothing to loose. But it is difficult to believe it.
My nephew was playing football, not the American soccer, alone by himself. He was the sole player and was playing for both the sides. It was his own personal space and I walked away, not wanting to intrude. I enjoy football too, and have stayed awake nights watching world cups. But of course there is no comparison with the British passion for football.
Ok bye for now and I will be back again soon in no time today itself.
Cheers,
Bindu

Silence !

who loves silence?  :)

Today is a nice day .It has to do with what I did. George Kelly was right when he said that man is what he does. I m happy to be here again.

Bindu , I hope you are doing well . It s been long I have not heard from you

Florence I hope you are doing well too.

Thank you for the appreciations.It will make me work harder.

You once asked a question refering to Composition , question which I find  very important.

Didier, are you suggesting that when we record ‘reality’, there’s no construction or composition?

I would like to think that there is The practice – la pratique de l’ art- of arts and the intention of arts. Be it in Journalism , media communication or photography the operator has an aim. He has goals he wants to realize. Composition could be thus intentional or not.In either cases the original aim of the artist remains in my humble opinion as they do not do arts for doing sake they have a purpose. You had beautifully answered to my question on what is the role and function of arts. So I think we would agree that at times we have no time to compose the reality we have to show. Again , it would seem interesting to know what  we understand by a compostion of reality or a construction of it? I had once asked Bindu whether we could do arts without it. She said it was illogical to think that we could seperate arts from it s experience.I found that lovely.There is thus no Dualism present? :).

Again the new technoloiges we have enable us with relative ease to manipulate images and their elements.This act is to me a way of changing reality.

Florence I have several themes in photography and my genre depends on a lot of factors still beyond me.I would love to think again that  photography is   a record of reality , reality in its broadest sense.

I was thinking about the ethics of arts yesterday when I was refecting on all what we ve talked of. Do you think my Photo of strangeness is politically correct in context- the one we re in ?. I would Love Breda to tell me what she thinks? In my country in particular and in africa in general the taboo is part of the culture and interpreation or consumption of arts depend on this factor. It is complex as it depends on ethnic groups.

I have no knowlegde of erotic arts or such in the Bantu . However, In music via language some ethnic groups in Cameroon have a fantastic mastery.

Language thus really plays a role in arts , which arts ?

Do you think when we see an arts work we see the art or the word the arts alludes too? What would interprating an art work mean without language.?

It is really sad as langauge ios really so poor to sauy all what is.

Please permit me to talk again abouut the art work a word sensation.It s juts a photo of a word but the word it self has a very strong emotion tone.A feeling is one totally and evokes a myriads of things.

I love this transitions and mental transactions played by our minds.

Florence and Bindu , Bindu and Florence I will suggest that we work on arts as a concept.We are from rich cultural backgrounds this is a tool. We are all beautifully sophisticated ; clever and curious . I suggest we work on different things and then try to find a link between them. Well what do YOU think?.

Florence I have never done an exhibition but it is in thought :).

Music is lovely to listen in total silence.

See you soon

Greeting from the tropîcs

missing word?

 

Hi again

Just a correction. i meant to say that NOT all forms of language provide us with that power to make things tangible…

Fl

Connections

Hi Bindu & Didier,

Yes, language is powerful, and when we name things, we make them tangible. But I was thinking that all forms of language provide us with that power to make things tangible…but I will stop here before I delve into an area that is beyond me… I shall leave you two to continue with your very sophisticated and deeper discussions about this topic.

Didier, Looks like your work is in between Photo art and documentary photography? Really nice work! Have you exhibited your work recently or in the past? It must be a special experience for to see your variety in a specific space.

It’s really wonderful to be able to share glimpses of your work and different approach & style as an artist ‘there’ – the different layers, textures, feelings, presences and absences, echoes, tangible and imagined encounters & statements about people and places. We have a connection between here and there.

Thanks again and i hope Bindu and i can make it over ‘there’. But we need something to begin looking at ways to merge and explore.

Later.

Florence

Grand Grand & Thank You!!!

Thanks Didier,

Crunchy business? You are the funny one, and now I feel like I would like to descend in Yaounde for many reasons. The top one being to find the girl, and get to know her. Thanks so much for telling me about her. I hope I will meet her someday, soon.

But you are so kind to send me your photo – it all makes sense now! I can really imagine you writing all those things you have been writing. You are intense, but at the same time playful, funny & serious, clever, and it’s clear you love life! 

I have been to that place – that space you occupy in the photo – Bindu would like it too.

Thank you so much for all you wonderful replies and insights. I really like your discussions of Lady and Woman – Great. You know your stuff!

More later. I am going to see a film; not sure what but I feel I must go out to the cinema tonight.

You too have a good weekend and same to Bindu in her chauffeur driven car over there.

Please Didier, don’t forgot to start thinking about a potential project – I’m serious; it would be great!!!

Ok, I must go now.

 

Greetings,

Florence

have a lovely weekend

Florence and Bindu , Bindu and Florence have a lovely weekend . :)

1Tending to Perfection, 2 Mbororo women at the mvog-mbi market, 3 a word-sensation, 4 it is raining, 5 for the future.

Didier de MassoDidier de MassoDidier de MassoDidier de MassoDidier de Masso

Florence I now remember that you asked a question about the mask.I m not the one who made it I juts made it to be real via a photo.

A propos

I m very happy to be back here.I love this place and the warmth your particular presence Bindu and Florence , Florence and Bindu transmit.I learn each day from you. :). And with you !!.

Florence you are really a very funny woman .tHe issue of teh sandwhich was a fabulous one.To be candid teh sandwich we make is the tastiest a human can ever imagine to savour :).

There are a lot of crunchy things to talk about today.

The issues about teh trith and reality are should I say metaphysical.They re are still hypothetical ciontsructs language has rendred tangible.

The truth is not truth because there is always what we thnk about things and what they re really.The history of knowlegde reveals to us of the fantstic chaos we dwelved in for years about for example the shape of the earth and it s movements.I think one of the reasons why life is interesting is bcause we do and cannot know everything.

The truth is to me a transcandental entity which does not depend on us.It s like the fact that the sun seems to rise and set.For bilions of years it has been so.We think it rises or sets for example but it s just a delusion.I find this lovely , the manner with which the brain palys with us.

The notioàn of measure is a procedure or brain devided to render comprenhesible what is not.Reality is time realted and time is something we have no control of.So the reality we talk of are most of the time very very constricted.Quasi infinitesimal.It is true there exist a reality of all things again !!.We cannot think of living without experiencing.It is an old debate John locke began.It s true our senses we know the world and experience it.

It might seem talking about science inarts seems a mistake .However , in the processes that have led us to our different status as artsit , there is a fundamental reason based on the desire to render sytematic our way of seeing and thinking tjhe world we live in.

As a photography , reality , temporatility , space and time , are of extreme importance.I cannot count the number of experiences where time and its corolarries – psychical and psychological experience of physical time- changed the way I function today artistically or in everyday life.I was once confronted with this situation.Loving to walk , I passed via a flower which intensively captivated my attention.It was a singularity.It was all particular not only because of its size but as well because of it s colour.As I walked , I had this feeling : ‘this flower I have to record it’.I did not know the future.Inbetween several mental events I went in rain now falling to shot the flower.Happily I went away . when I acn 30 min later the flower had died.Everyday since that day I pass through the same place to see wether I could have the honour to SEE the flower again .Never have i understood this time bond event.In reality things are really much complex than we might thing .Beaty is our cushion , love or drive and like a mega cockatial our sense refuse to probe further. Reality and the truth are just words but behind them exist I think all the essence of Life.

Arts tries to represent all sorts of realities.Where do we get the inspiration to create to invent ?

The truth is that the more time becomes thin the more it seems we know nothing at all.

I have a fascination for the manner in which Leonardo da vinci painted his reality.I mean it is juts too lovely !! He was not far from photography .

Florence :) I m still smiling to the lovely metaphor you used.A sandwich .

So you make a distingo between been a woman and a lady.In french it will be ‘une femme et une dame’.  It s heavy to understand as in reality dame is just another word to say respect. We all want respect.

However essentially perahps ladies are inhibited and now woman .Even though be it ladies and women are all Women. Suprisingly and interesting a woman is not a man and we fail at times to know this fact.

Arts practiced by women is interesting , indeed .The history of  the female  artist .

Florence you know the masks we decide to wear are our attire.It seems at times we hate to wear them , feeling perhaps helpless but inded more secured.There are certain dresses we cannot discard as they know us and we know them.There is an intimate relationship between our masks and our desires and aspirations.What is interesting again we have so many of them which we use in several  different occasions.

A photographer and his camera have a paradoxical relationship.A photo revela our self and this revals physically the extent of our self-love.It slike the mirror, our refection in it is always very troubling when our conception of ourselvs is ethier too little or too much.

I love not just thus taking photos but taking photos of myself.It s a form of  visual introspection.Who are my? whom are we in teh photo of us we see?.

This is a photo of me :

Didier de Masso

The Girl dear women-ladies is the sister of Musa my young Toureg Friend.I think she is called Aicha.She and her family come from Niger .She should it would seem be a tourag.I do know know her but I know tha this girl is a pool  of knowledge.She is juts a kid by age but her cogntion and emotional maturity is startling. Well she and her siblings beg in the streets of yaoundé. I love their solidarity and their sentivity though hidden. It is sad to realise that having to buy for affection , security , attachment these kids to me have no souls . I realised when doing three photos of this young girl that she was mimicing someone.Her gestures were extremely elaborate and almost too direct in a communicational sense that is.I was touched you cannot imagine Musa her junior brother is small but big.I have great admiration for him.It s been long I ve not seem him.I ll find him tomorrow in town again.

Sure Florence it will be a plesaure to recieve you in Yaoundé :).You ll walk and you ll love it. Bindu Yafé better written ya-fé means ‘ yaoundé en fete ‘ translation , festive Yaoundé.

Yes lorence I think The ladie beautifying teh hands of the young girl in my pic is a Mboro.I took the pic during the university games in yaoundé last year.See beauty in dirt.

I love the crowd . Football in Cameroon gathers the crowd.I think I love football too playing it most not watching.Let me say it better I don t like watching it over tv in reality its much more intense and real.

Have I forgotten to talk about something? :)

Bindu I now know what you do.I m sorry if I was not able to know that ealier even with your clear explanations.The thing is that arts is not taken to be a concept in my place.At times I think that way too.

Some of my work coming next.

Warm greeting To you two !!!

More of my Yaounde

Hi Didier & Bindu,

I am sending you more photos of my Yaounde – remember my attraction to the football grounds? This started long ago, and as I’ve discovered, with pleasure, somethings don’t go away, they just change with time. And also I strongly agree with Bindu’s insightful and intelligently presented discussion about the relationship between the past present. My passion and relationship with football just changed from just watching and feeling excited, to using new technology to find a way to say something about this beautiful game and what it means to women lives, in Zanzibar. Next stop maybe Cameroon, because it’s a football mad nation!

Here we go…FLORENCE AYISI

One more…

FLORENCE AYISI

And, I couldn’t resist these beautifully toned thighs. He is proud, young, elegant, and confident he will succeed in his dreams to play at a higher level one day; on grass, abroad for a big club across the ocean. The football pitch as a space, matters for many football lovers – those who play, and those who watch from the sidelines.

Greetings,

Florence

I need to see your face – Urgent, Please!

Hi Didier & Bindu,

You Didier?  You don’t know what to say? No, no, nooooo, you are a man with many fine words. Come on! I need to see your face when you say you don’t know what to say. By the way, I need to know what you look like. I am sure you know by now that I am a very curious Kumba ‘girl’. I have searched and searched, but I am lost. Put me out of my miserable curiosity; send me one. Please, just please me. Thank you in anticipation.

Oh, before it’s all over, I will eagerly await the special photo you will take just for me when you are out there walking – I will keep nagging you… People, places – you choose; I just want to see your Yaounde. Yaounde through the eyes of Didier.

Here’s my Yaounde – I am always attracted to football grounds and in June 2008, I took this photo when I was in Yaounde. I went to the Omni Sport Annex in the morning, and the whole place was littered with Football Dreamers – I love them. Do you like football? I have a friend who trains young boys in that space all day long. I would very much like to make a doc film about his and their passion for football. I have taken hundreds of photos for my research and development of the project.

FLORENCE AYISI

Bindu, what about you? Any interest in football? You said your nephews were playing football the other day. Was it ‘proper’ football (Soccer) or American football?

‘On the Spot’ – Didier

Somethings just have to be done/said ‘on the spot’ and here we go… a nice big challenge for Didier and you’ll be surprised at many things – hungry? thirst? – you got it – coming now – I did read with interest when you said your sleepless nights and tired moods ignited creative ideas. Nice!! Well, you have been sandwiched between two ladies/women – Well, I am a woman (not a lady), and Bindu will reveal (not here, in this space) which one she is…ha ha ha – i am really having fun writing this!!!!  Didier, I can assure you that it’s a very tasty sandwich – one of its kind, and you have to thank the IAA team for the chance to be in the middle….

Ok, here we go: you Didier, will invite Bindu & Florence to Yaounde, and we will (threesome) work on a project that you will propose. I am sure you will be kind and generous not to reject or turn down my request for you to invite ‘us’ to Yaounde. You know what they say about simple respect in our homeland? Big Sister (F) is asking kindly (not telling).

Oh, by the way, Bindu had expressed her desire to visit Cameroon, and to see it through your ‘Eyes’ – (what colour are they?) Just like you, I am hungry and thirsty too; like I said in one of my dialogues, there’s a lot to do. And, you know that Bindu is a woman/lady who enjoys crossing borders – she likes big cities too, and Yaounde is not small.

Question for Didier (be answered later when we all meet; not now) – What’s the difference between a WOMAN & a LADY? This is very very important!!! – It could even be a small part of what we explore using our very different creative practices.

Ok, let me sign off for now and hope you both have a Big smile on your faces just like I do now as I post this. Thanks for reading.

Florence

The Father of African Cinema…

Hello Bindu & Didier,

I’m reading with intense interest your discussion about Art, Science & Reality/Truth – very enlightening.

Bindu, I forgot to mention our dear father’s name at the end of the quote – he is the one and only OUSMANE SEMBENE from Senegal, West Africa. Some of his films are Borom Sarret, Xala, Ceddo, Guelwaar, Molaade, Ceddo.

Bindu, enjoy your residency. Chauffeur driven? That’s just fantastical!!!

Didier, great to know that you like walking – so keep walking and let your body be beautified under the Yaounde sun. And, while you are out there walking, take a special photo just for me, Please. Enjoy your morning walks!  I look forward to having a very long walk with you when next I’m in our capital city. 

Later,

Florence

The dry season.

It s a lovely night.Lovely because I think I m hapy today.in fat there are several mental events bathing my mind.I feel hungry and tristy .

I m hapy to talk to you both Florence and Bindu , Bindu and Florence.

I read your posts passionately and I for some time did not know what to say.I m happy to be fattened by your conversations and ideas.

We should one day opt for direct dialogue.It will just be a matter of timing.I should thus try to know when  are your respective time differences.

Bindu with respect to your question regarding my anthropological prespective in photography you are right to interogate on this. However, i think the defintion of anthroplogy does not suit my perception of the act of  photographying. Anthropos means human and I shoot  aspect of humans ; humankind.I shoot people , different people who can be compared sure. but whose humanity is what is interesting  to me . Being a human is such a blessing  but it s always very easy to be anthropocentric when infront of other humans.I suppose we were made that way.Perhaps what is been shown is just other aspects of me. there is  a real paradox and seemingly confusion in these propos. However, in reality all humans are the same by nature and essence and as a photographer I have the  duty to show certain things been in the mass we fail to see.

8th january 2010

I woke up early this morning. But not as early as often. Since I love walking . I walked . After haven done what I have to do all mornings : the commonities.

I realised with  renewed astonishment as I walked how soft and delicate was the sun’s heat on us.It is the dry season but even with this the Sun in reality is still very gentle.The roads are crowded with people. No cab , I don t know why.

Hmmmm

Dear Florence,
I am in Hyderabad, and have taken half and hour of driving around mindlessly to find a cyber cafe. We have been provided with a Chauffeur and a car so thankfully I am mobile. Well you had written-
Bindu, you are in a position where you can swing back and forth (‘Home & Away’) freely and anytime – a new citizen?
But I dont know where is home? I dont feel at home in India either. For a short time it feels great and for that time it is home, but then the same feeling ceases to exist. I have a similar feeling for UK as well, or for that matter any city I live in. Probably mine is a quest to be at home within my own being, and the place, on some level ceases to matter. These are mere hypothetical assumptions on my part, since probably to understand oneself is the hardest thing. But yes the world citizen has always been an ideology that i have believed in, a world with no boundaries. But I would like to thank you profusely for your view point. I will go back and reflect on it carefully. Maybe it may open new doors for me for understanding myself better. I am going to take a print out of your write up and re-read it again and again and reflect.

I agree with you Florence, we have little time to think about killing art. Anyways Didier, one cannot kill or destroy creativity. It just is. But yes it will be interesting to see your point of view and maybe you are coming from a place where we are not at the moment paying attention to. So please do share with us you thoughts.
Florence what a beautiful quote- “… it’s up to us to create our values…In the dark, even if others don’t see me, I see myself, and I shine.” Can you tell me, who was the late father of African Cinema?

Cheerfully,
Bindu

Truth?

Hello Didier.
You had mentioned -
‘ however should we dismiss the fact that even though he was unable to see what is a fact red and blue there exist an objective reality which has nothing to do with our perceptions or mind processes? In fact there is what is and what we think is.’
To that I would like to mention that the subjective can only exist if there is an objective and vise verca. As per science, we are using not more than 4 percent of our brains capability. To put things very simply, can you really know for sure that with the 4 percent information of this objective world, our realities are the only existing realities or the so called objective reality. Also please tell me what is the truth in reality? Sometimes I am at a loss when we speak about truth. Are human joy, sorrows, pains suffering a reality? Does that reality exist only in poverty, old age etc etc, Can you measure reality? Can you measure truth, i feel it all depends from how and where you look from. Time and space exist in continum, one can neither create or destroy. It just is. And yes Didier, I do feel there is a close connection between Art and Science and probably many other forms, but that will be another time since one can talk on it endlessly.

Bindu do you think arts should for its sake enrich itself of the history of science.in science theories which have ceased to be solid are discarded.-
I think change, growth, development takes place simultaneously in many fields together or about the same time. Normally first there is a change in technology which filters down to change in art practises. Science theories are not discarded!! they are used in the development of technology or for inventing different things, and then used by different industries for creating different products, which come into the market and are consumed by us, and so the process continues. The present cannot exist without the past, we can only refer to the present in context with the past, and so the importance of past does not cease even though it is history. Sometimes we go back into the past theories to reinvent them again.

Didier I do not create dresses!!!! I am an installation artist, and my work normally reflects on socio-economic and political issues. I had done a site specific project for a museum in UK, and the photograph was part pf that.

I am unable to see your picture Strangeness on my page, but I do like the picture of the little girl. It is a very sensitive picture. I like the gesture and the expression on her face and it creates a desire in me to get to know her better.

I am in Hyerabad now, will write to you again,
Cheers, Bindu

who is this Girl?

Hi Didier, 

Your photo of this very lovely looking Girl – is she Touareg or Mbororo? What’s her story? She’s in a very pensive mood! How did you meet her, and where?

 Didier de Masso

Waiting!

Greetings,

Florence

I’m Curious

Hi Didier,

I posted this ppicture sometime ago and you wanted to know what it is. I was just very curious when I saw the photo you posted showing a woman’s hand being decorated with henna. Here’s my photo again which I took in Maroua in December 2008. I stayed in Maroua to do research after FENAC 2008. Did you attend FENAC 2008 in Maroua?

Florence Ayisi

Here’s your photo. Where and where did you take yours? And who is that woman/girl? 

Didier de Masso

Greetings,

Florence

reflections

Hello again Bindu & Didier,

Bindu, I agree with you that having the ability to empathize, and relate to people or situations is crucial, and has an added value in in the aesthetics of the real and in the whole process of documenting the reality – I felt that Didier may have been suggesting that the word ‘artistic’ has no bearing in he process of documenting ‘reality’ or what he calls “simple facts”. Maybe I read too much into what Didier said when he talked about his photography; here is what he said “I would love to describe my photography then to be artistic…My photography is systematically artistic because it goes beyound the simple facts, the simple things we can see, feel or touch. I want to make my sensations have a body; a form.”

 Question for Didier,

You said something in your latest communication “I took the pic in a fraction of a second. It s not a construction, a composition. It is reality. Didier, are you suggesting that when we record ‘reality’, there’s no construction or composition? I think that the mere act of making a choice about what to record, and how we choose to record it (the reality) is in itself a ‘construction’  - just a thought.

Greetings,

Florence

Killing art?

Hello Didier & Bindu,

Can anyone really kill art? Sorry Didier, I am not in a position to pontificate about “what kills art” – I have not even considered the idea of ‘art being killed’. My energy and focus is having enough time, and the ‘means’ to create & imagine how best to ensure that I document or visualize those aspects of our Culture & People that could be forgotten if I/we do ‘nothing’ about them. There’s so much out there to create & re-create, to construct and visualize; I’m more concerned about how I/we can manifest aspects of ourselves in visual representations. And, I am forever grateful that many different aspects of new technology are enabling many different voices to be heard; images and ideas to be experienced so that we are able to share and celebrate ‘how we live today’ – different forms of art can enable us to achieve this. Even though it’s difficult (financially) to make doc films on subjects I’m passionate about, I try to find the means to just create despite the odds. Didier, I have only ‘just started’, and I’m extremely excited about the possibilities. So, it’s rather hard for me to even begin to think about “what kills art” – I can’t even imagine it. But hang on, just a thought! You know something, maybe things just ‘change’ – with every generation and with the advancement of science and technology as the human race becomes more knowledgeable: not ‘killing’, but ‘changing’ with the times. But that’s just me! Well, the fact that you asked the question might really suggest that it’s something that concerns you a lot. So maybe you can share your concerns or thoughts about “what kills art” which I would love to hear about, but I wouldn’t let this worry me for now because there’s so much to do, and it’s privilege to be able to do what I do. So, that’s me.

Bindu & Didier, Let me share with you both what the late father of African cinema said “… it’s up to us to create our values…In the dark, even if others don’t see me, I see myself, and I shine.”

 Warm greetings,

Florence

Finding ways to fill the gaps

Hi Bindu & Didier,

As we journey through life, we re-invent, and maybe re-define ourselves. ‘Leaving’ Cameroon for me was not just a physical journey; it opened doors that have given me opportunities and ‘choices’ – to be ‘here’ or to be ‘there’? I can choose. It’s not a painful experience. It just that sometimes it’s obvious you know that somethings are absent, missing, but you are not ‘lost’. But maybe unlike Bindu, I won’t go as far as saying that I am in a constant state of ‘missing. Bindu, you are in a position where you can swing back and forth (‘Home & Away’) freely and anytime – a new citizen? And the beauty of the New Citizen is the luxury of having a ‘Choice’ – even if we sometimes long for or desire to have certain experiences that we ‘imagine’ are part of our identity. Yes, the New Citizen in his/her New Place is attractive, I think. And yes, when someone with limited or no options looks from the ‘outside’, they see something ‘fanciful’ – not ‘forced’ and limiting, but invented because ‘we can’ in our ‘new’ world. It’s a fanciful and great place to be! And this is part of what I meant sometime ago when I said that I try to capture and construct those things that are ‘missing here’ – No matter how I/we may look at it, I think it’s a luxury to negotiate or navigate between these spaces. And for some of us, it inspires what we do.

Maybe Breda’s inspiration for connecting artists who left, with those who stayed comes from the fact that she’s a New Citizen, in a New Place? One foot in and one foot out, and the New Place is in the middle? – A Vantage point? I think a vantage point where using our knowledge, and our quest for new knowledge, plus the desire to share what we know, we can begin to fill the gaps of the missing links & pieces through what we do – No matter how small; somehow this is part of how I imagine the role of what I do. The artists who stayed are in a position to remind me, and show me another perspectiveof our homeland through their work. 

Greetings from Florence

A Comfortable Mask?

Hi Bindu & Didier,

Didier, trying to even determine the mask we are most comfortable with/in is like saying that we are all the same. Don’t you think? Each individual will find, define, construct and use the mask that fits a particular situation. So when people negotiate situations as a coping strategy, they can use any kind of mask to enable them along.

Didier, as Bindu rightly says, we all wear masks; actually many different masks at different times. And these Masks could just be temporary concealment or disguises. Being ‘Comfortable’ will depend on each individual.

Did you create or photograph the mask attached to your message?

More later….

Florence

masks

Didier de Masso

In which mask do we feel comfortable?

Welcome Bindu !!

vI am happy to see you in here again Bindu :).Things are never as easy as we might think even the loveliest of things.
It s never late , never too late to be in the train forhappiness , success and goodness.

In just an act you told us were you h where, at the Himalayas.I m certain it s a lovely place.Up above is always lovely.The air , the sensation of freedom , the music .These moments have no describtion they can only be felt I think.It ‘s rather unfortunate that language will never be able to say what we think and feel strictly speaking.

I m happy you came to enrich our conversation.Your ideas rang in me .With a particular frequency.You metioned certain things I d like to talk about again.

You said you meet a young man suffering from some eye defect.I guess you allude to this example to make me understnad that we all have different perceptions of reality.You re very right.I agree , however should we dismiss the fact that even though he was unable to see what is a fact red and blue there exist an objective reality which has nothing to do with our perceptions or mind processes? In fact there is what is and what we think is.

In arts I think this has all it s place as the artist has now to orientate the viewer on what to see.

At times Bindu I find it difficult to tell the truth in my photography , even though it s part of my role in the society as a photographer.There is this scotomization process which always seems to come in.The role of a photography should be to me to immortalize all events and their content .The importantce and or significance is not so much a prlem as it s subjective.This issue leads to questions like what is a good photo? or more generally what is a good art work?.

Bindu you mean you create dresses? I still don t understand  the art you re into.

Dosa I d love to know how to make dosa !!.

Concerning that question you did not understand , I wanted to know how you been from india and most a Woman what can you say about the condition of women in your country.There are a few countries semingly that have to my humble opinion such an interesting history of the woman. Women are the bearers of culture and language and their destabilisation is a serious problem for any society.

About my Anthropological study using photography , it is a long term project I ve just began.My recent project are linked with aspects of my city , the school campus , and people that are in this places.it has though a zest of anthropology.

Photography is wicked.At times one never has what they expect .It s so much however difficult to destroy a portion of time and space just because of ethical issues and convinience.I would like to know your view points on what that photo I called strangness shows? It would be good to know .

I took the pic in a fraction of a second.It s not a construction, a composition.It is reality.It could mean a lot of things but to me it meant ‘nothing’ phenomenologically.It was strange.

I will post some more of my work.

Bindu do you think arts should for its sake enrich itself of the history of science.in science theories which have ceased to be solid are discarded.

I would love to believe that be it arts or science all follow a certain algorithm.A certain law, rules which make tehm what they re.

Symettry, colour addition and subtrction , contrast , perspective , volume , relief , texture , tone , presence are just of a few things arts tries to depict but in a certain way which can be rendred objective.

What kills arts Florence and Bindu?

Didier de Masso

Didier de Masso

ME IN THE PICTURE

Hello Florence and Didier,
I am there in the picture in 8 long years. I have the short hair and you can see me in side profile listening to my friends. I have known them for more than 28 years of my life. It was like meeting another part of you again, and looking for ways to make each other smile, laugh, talk….

Those 8 years in actuality never existed; we had just met the other day. When I wrote the title Me In The Picture, I remembered yesterday when I was thinking about my own place in IAA, and that every participant had the other, and I was the only one amongst all who in actuality did not have her own nationality counter part. It set me thinking as to why Brenda and Eline really picked me? What role did I really have to play? After carefully pondering, I looked at the title of our box called New Place. It struck me that, though there are 2 participants, one who lives in Cameroon and another who used to live in Cameroon and now has her home in UK, probably I belong within that space that lives in both the countries and belongs to none that is India and UK together. Probably a post post modern phenomenon and both Eline and Brenda wanted to see as to how I negotiate this space, as done by many other people around the world. And this in itself was a New Place for me. Sorry if I may sound very fanciful!!!!
Florence and Didier you both are so very very very very funnnnnnnny!!!! I love the dialogue about love and marriage and now love, concubine and marriage!!!! It is ridiculously funny…. You both have a way with words…. And I just adore it… honestly and cross my heart. Thanks for letting me know that Didier had asked those questions, I guess I was concentrating so much on answering the questions that I was not paying enough attention to who was asking them. I like the bus picture too, but it has not been shot by me.

I totally agree with you Florence about Documentary photography. You mentioned that it requires a special craft and skill to bring forth the aesthetics of the real and I would also like to add sensitivity and empathy in abundance. One may have all the skills and creative abilities but if one is not able to reach out or empathize with the people or a given situation, none of the above skill sets may be of much value.

One of the scenes of Noman’s Land was very insightful- A soldier was lying on a mine and if he moved even a bit he could be blown into shreds. Well here comes a war journalist ( I know they are not documentary film makers, just an example), and she is trying to cover the whole issue and get enough media attention so that this soldier could be helped. Then she goes to the soldier and asks him- “How does it feel lying on the mine!!!!!”

How do you get the reds and blues
I don’t know Florence, I just type. Will try to figure it out!!! You had asked me as to how I see my work progressing to my next level. Florence a large part of me works very spontaneously, though I have a basic idea of what I want and from there I go into research and slowly build the work up. So, I am not sure what I will do pertaining to this gallery definitely, but I have some idea, and since it is going to be site specific and I have seen the space, I hope I will be able to do justice.

It would be nice to talk about something we could work on together. Well the project that you are working for the DC Project is similar to mine but probably as of now it is more on a personal level. I am open to any idea, so please do feel to share and I will be prompt to reply.

I really liked what you wrote about masks. We all have them, and we get so used to them that when we meet ourselves occasionally it seems as if we are meeting a stranger. It is hard to adjust and get acquainted with this new person. The meeting is also so very brief, often times we either ignore him or her or do not make the right efforts.

You had written- Something is missing ‘here’, and yet I am here, and to be ‘here’ sometimes wearing the masks becomes a matter of negotiating and sacrifice.
That was really touching. But for me I am in a constant state of missing, since I cannot be at home in any place. Home is an abstract space for me. How does one define home? Where should I go and how can I find it? There are no flights to this place; I cannot book tickets in advance? There is no premium on it. Can there ever be a home? I don’t know, since the negotiation of space and sacrifice only exists in my mind.
Bindu

Masks

Hi Didier and Bindu,

I have been thinking about some of the people in my films, and how in many instances, I felt that the camera gave some of them a chance to drop their ‘masks’, and in the process of narrating themselves, they found a way to just be the ‘person’ they really are, rather than the person they are expected to be in a society where rules clearly define how we should look, behave, feel, and so on. For some of the women, the camera was a catalyst for revealing another side of who they are. Here is where I agree wholeheartedly with Jean Rouch – the camera as catalyst for hidden truths. Some have asked if the camera alters ‘reality’ when we take photos or shoot films that are about ‘real’ people. Maybe we should be thinking more about the’other’ reality that has not had the opportunity to come to the surface, or to be revealed. If I had the privilege to place a camera in front of my Mother, and allowed her to tell me about who she really is/was, I suspect I would have discovered something new and different from the Mama i had known all along. Now I see it as a ‘missed opportunity’ to uncover her mask.   

 This morning, I was wearing my winter mask, and I felt I was somebody else, faraway  from the woman who grew up in a small town in Cameroon. The brilliant white snow, the heavy boots, the long black coat, the red wool cap, the blue scarf, the brown gloves: this was me! I went out to take a photo of the house, driveway and our street all covered snow. I suppose I want to communicate to my family that while they are under the sun’s heat over ‘there’, they can hardly see my face, my ‘real’ shape/figure because I’m hiding in my winter mask over ‘here’. A few years ago, my cousin wanted to know what I ‘really’ looked like’ – she was frustrated that she could not see (in the picture) if I had put on weight or lost weight; she could not see my legs, arms. She wondered what happened to my ‘real’ body since I left our homeland. Well, I have wondered about that too. Something is missing ‘here’, and yet I am here, and to be ‘here’ sometimes wearing the masks becomes a matter of negotiating and sacrifice – Sorry, I seem to be coming back to Bindu’s The Kitchen and all the ideas it throws up about the lives of others; lives we can only imagine in relation to what also confines us. Sometime I find beauty in how people negotiate spaces for the sake of survival, and they cleverly discover an inner strength that propels them along….  

Did I make sense to you? Maybe not, but these thoughts just came to my head when I saw that I had my mask; I’m wondering why I am here; I’m thinking about the courage of some of the people/women in my films; and I’m also thinking about my attraction to making films about ‘real’ people – they make me see things differently when it’s all over.

To be continued…..

Florence

Hi Bindu,

Which one were you referring to? No Man’s Land (Danis Tanovic, 2001) or No Man’s Land (Peter Werner, 1987).

I am hoping you will come online soon.

I will be back soon to check…

Florence

Hello, are you ‘there’?

Hi Bindu,

I’m here; online now. I forgot to set my alarm for 7am. It’s now 7.57am.

I will wait!

Fl

Great work – well done!

 Hi Bindu,

I think it’s great that you will have a chance to discuss and share ideas about an important aspect of your history (and Cultural Heritage?) with you dear Dad in the process of reading the precious gift – the book about the Partition of India.

 The question about your Perspective on Indian women – Actually, it’s Didier who asked about your perspective on Indian Women.

 It’s wonderful that you will have further exhibitions; that is so nice. You must be delighted. It’s a good sign – evidence of great work!!! Well done too. How do you see the work progressing to the next level? What is the next level for this project?

 On the subject of projects, should we start thinking about something we could work on together?

Yes, the Washington DC project is about the Cameroonian- American Community over there. The project is still at the research stage. I am hoping to travel to DC during the Easter break to begin the research work – collecting data through interviews, photographs, etc. Then the next stage will be developing a proposal for a larger research grant application for a book and possibly a doc film. However, I am hoping that the initial research trip will generate enough data to write a paper in a journal, and possibly a book with personal Diaspora stories and photos of the participants. It’s still very early stages and we have to see what we get; I am collaborating with a Creative Writer from the USA; she teaches here in the UK.

 I have not seen either film – NOMAN’S LAND and Little Red Flowers. I will try to get these on DVD.

 How do you get the reds and blues when you in your dialogue? I typed my text on a word document and took my time to distinguish your section from Didiers by using different colours – I was pleased. Then when I copied it on new post page, I lost the colours – I wasn’t pleased!!

 How early (or late night?). I am happy to chat from 7am our time here in the UK. I will hope to hear from you soon.

 Greetings from Cardiff,

 Florence

Hello from Florence

 

Hi Bindu & Didier,

I’m using Bindu’s style – different shades of colour; I think it’s colourful and also fun… (i just copied what my dialogue now and I can’t see my colour coding!!!) I hope that when it’s published, it’ll be visible)

 It’s nice to have you back Bindu. Sounds like you had a good time up in the Himalayas; well apart from the extra 4 hours you spent on the way. Somehow, it’s just had to imagine you fuming – I don’t know what you look like (honest) but I have come to develop this image and impression of you that’s on the very calm side of life! So, I’m just smiling at the thought of you fuming, and then the beautiful goddess of communication ‘brought the lights back, just in time to ensure you are not upset for long’ – I believe this!!!

In the photo ‘after 8 long years’ – are you in the picture? I like the Bus with the images of ‘Bollywood’ stars.

Didier, thanks for telling me more about your ideas and for sharing your photographic work in Cameroon. I can see some of the ideas you are expressing in a couple of the photos; especially the pose and the specificity of the body (beautiful) in the black & white photos of the woman/lady – the tight jeans, the slender & long fingers, adorned by the jewelry. The black & white emphasizes the silky/smooth texture of her beautiful dark skin.

I believe that photographs that record factual events, (even though not self-consciously artful) also have a certain kind of ‘sensation’ and ‘form’, and one can see this in the work of a variety of Documentary photographers and how they engage with or document the ‘facts of life’ (such war, poverty, disasters, leisure, work, crime and so on). It’s a special craft and skill to bring forth the aesthetics of the ‘real’. I think that how we intervene and negotiate aspects of ‘reality’ or actuality in the process of ‘making’ depends largely on what we want to say with any artwork. And every artwork will be interpreted according to who is ‘looking’ at it, listening to it, experiencing it and so on. I really like Bindu anecdote of the guy who is colour-blind and his description of the landscape.

Bindu: it’s Didier who wrote this to you on 28th Dec:

 

“By the way in work art field are you in? I saw photos of a sewing machines and threads ? Should I conclude ?“

“Bindu I would love you talk to me more about the woman in India .In fact ,the thought of an Indian woman of women in India.”

So, Didier, this response from Bindu is for you:

… I make, painting, sculptures, installations, videos… The photograph you saw was of one of the earliest weaving machines in our history, the threads you saw were made from glue and inserted by me within the machines. This was a site specific project which I did in the Museum of Blackburn. You wanted me to write on -the thought of an Indian woman of women in India. I am sorry I did not understand what you meant? Can you please rewrite or rephrase it?

Didier, with this question, (How do you, now, imagine the art of your photography when you moved from being in ‘love’ to actually getting married?) I was curious to know if your photographic work changed in terms of themes, styles, etc, when you got ‘married’ – it’s just lie asking a ‘man/woman’ “now that you are married to your ‘girlfriend/boyfriend’, has the relationship changed, or have your views on the general issue of family & relationships altered?

I think that when we change positions, when we travel, when people leave or come into our lives, or when we meet ‘new’ people, the way we do or see things changes. Life changes all the time even with the slightest adjustments we make; whether the changes are physical or mental. So, I simply wanted to know what if there was anything different in your art, when you decided to change your relationship with photography – from love to marriage? Maybe I should have asked you why you decided to get married – that is from being in love with photography, to having her as a concubine, then finally marrying her? I hope I have clarified the question. By the way, I appreciate your patience and time.

On the issue of women and the kitchen, etc, I know for sure that my late mother wanted more out of life than what she had. She wanted to be a doctor, but her father told her that “a woman’s education only ends up in the kitchen” – her father did not want to waste money on her education. Even though my mother was happy to prepare meals for us, she was never pleased in a space that she saw as an obstacle to obtaining her other heart’s desire – that place is the kitchen! I don’t think she was particularly pleased in that space. I think that ‘society’ makes a lot of assumptions that ‘women’ are happy in the space of the kitchen or that all women should know how to cook. Why??? Maybe we could consider the idea that most women around the world have very limited Choices!!! I saw a short film called Puk Nini (Open your Eyes) by Regina Fanta Nacro from Burkina Faso. It was just refreshing to see that the kitchen was ‘absent’.

There’s a woman in my documentary film (ZSQ) who considers marriage as a trap! For her, marriage meant that she stopped being herself; she lost yourself and her dreams and she resents it.

 Bindu, wishing you happy times at Hyderabad. And Didier, I hope the ‘heat’ is slowly giving way to fresh breeze or cool weather in Yaoundé.

 

Greetings to you of both.

Florence

????????????????????????

Hello again,
We have been on the net for a while now, do you think we can have an online chat, like fix up a time. It will be more spontaneous and we can share our thoughts instantly? I am fairly open, there is about 5 hours time difference, and India late night time suits me, which would be early morning UK time and am not sure about Cameroon time. This area where my family stays has a problem with net connection during the day… hence night for me.

???????????????????????

Hello again

Hello there,
It has been a cold windy day, and my 2 nephews are playing football by themselves. Time, at times seems to have come to a standstill. Its beautiful to be alive.

On one of my trips to my friends place in Delhi, I saw a book on India’s Partition that I had wanted to read but never got down to buying the book. As soon as I enter my friends house the book is there right in front of me and I receive it as a gift. It has always been difficult for my father to talk about the partition of India and for the first time I have seen him picking up this book and making an effort to read it. Hopefully he will share his experience with me and I may get a chance to work on my much prolonged project.

It was interesting to read Didier’s perspective on photography. Didier if one may define anthropology as a comparative study of human beings in the most simplest manner, I will really appreciate if you could tell me as to how your new works that you have posted online reflect on this. I really like the photographs but am at a loss when I try to look at it from
this point of view. I really like the work Measure of Love. Its simplicity is what appeals to me. Guess it says it all. In one of your texts you had written- ‘Night is falling over Ongola and Yafé is on the lips of everyone’, Didier what does the word Yafé mean, besides it being another city? Is it also some kind of alcohol? Am very curious?

Florence I also saw a film, maybe you must have seen it. It is called NOMAN’S LAND. The film was referring to the war in Serbia.. The acting was very natural and the film very profound, after a longtime I really enjoyed a movie. We have a channel here which shows International films, so for the first time I am really getting the time to see some really good movies. You can also check out Little Red Flowers- it is a Chinese Film and really really good. I think you can download it too from you tube. But I will surely watch Silences of the palace, might get it on you tube as well?

Florence you had asked about my perspective on Indian women, this is such a complex issue, I really don’t know as to where to start. So if I had a more specific question then I would be in a position to answer. I hope you understand. You had mentioned about your Washington DC project, what is it about and when and where will it be shown? Any particular place? Is this about the Cameroonian-American community in Washington DC or is it a different project? It is interesting that you are making a film on Women and Beauty (Hence reference to Henna), I too have worked on a similar project, whereby I have used Henna patterns and created artworks from them, infact in my recent trip to Mumbai, one of the curators has expressed an interest in this body of work for further exhibitions. It would be interesting for me to see as to how I can I take my work to the next level.

Well, bye to both of you, the warm room is beckoning me.

I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR REPLIES,

My warm wishes to both of you,
Bindu

Siddhartha

Bindu Mehra

BEST

Bindu Mehra

Merlyn

Bindu Mehra

After 8 long years

Bindu Mehra

my long absence

Hello Didier and Florence,
I am extremely sorry for not being in touch with you. After reading both your communications with each other, I feel as if ages have passed, and I have lost touch with a dear friend. Well so here I am back again. I had been up to the Himalayas. Florence I had mentioned that I may not go, but I just decided very spontaneously that I must go and that I may not get this opportunity again. Well, we hired a cab, but there was so much mist and fog that the cab driver lost his way, and a journey that should have taken 6 hours took 10 hours. We went to stay with a friends, friend, who is a musician/painter and lives alone in a small village. For sustaining himself, he grows vegetables, fruits etc. I spent time trecking up the mountains, bathing in the sun and reading a book, and then camp fires from 5pm- 12 pm and big time jamming up. There was unfortunately no internet connection, else i sure would have been online everyday.

Florence, well probably you did yell out loud and I did hear your voice from Garth. I have been in the most disagreeable mood since the morning, since I had family commitments and I was not getting time to write to you. An hour back the light went off, so I went to the market and the internet shop had closed. I was fuming mad!!!!!!! Thank god the light came back. I was also worried that I am to go to Hyderabad on the 7th for the French Festival and do not wish to loose anytime further. I will be in touch, even if I have to go to the end of the city!!!! to write.
Didier,
I have been reading your mails, and much like Florence your language is so very poetic. I really envy both of you. One is blessed to have such a facility with words. You had mentioned about New Year, probably we celebrate New Year, since it gives us a chance to reinvent ourselves. New can only be in context with the old. I do feel that we have still to evolve from an information based society to a knowledge based society. When one has knowledge and wisdom, past, present and future figuratively cease to exist, one chooses to exist only in the present. I am not sure that my very limited vocabulary of words can convey what I mean. Either ways, New Years are always good!!! I wish you peace and joy.

I was reading about your recent wedding and would like to congratulate you on your new bride. You have a great sense of humor, but much like Florence I am keen to know what is your anthropological perspective on photography? Do you have any projects that you are working on?
Your question on whether I believe in the creative process. Yes I do. But it is nothing outside me, it lives in me. Time is not static, each moment is a new moment, learning is a constant process, and so is the creative energy. There is nothing called a mental block. It is just being less in touch with ourselves.

The photographs of the Blue moon were amazing, I really liked them, more so since probably each one of us has seen a similar landscape before and all three of us are living in 3 corners of the world. The photograph acts as a catalyst in taking us to a space and time shared within our own private memories.

You had mentioned that one must transcend all things to be able to get their meaning, but I believe that probably that is the function of art. Art does that for you. If we make the effort ourselves to transcend things then a work of art may have the tendency to become very literal. Besides I really don’t know what is the real meaning, how does one decipher any specific meaning, since interpretation of each viewer will be very different.
Didier, on my trip to the Himalayas, I met a guy who was colour blind, he could not see reds and blues. I asked him to describe the landscape to me according to his own sight. It was the most fantastical landscape anyone had ever described to me, yet it was not mine, he is the only one who could see it.
You had asked whether there is dualism possible in the practice of art. I do not feel that dualism is possible in the practice of art, and that one can make art or for that matter anything without our own possible experience of it (either direct or indirect). It logically makes no sense.

Florence, Henna is widely popular, not only in the continent of Africa, but also in Middle East, Turkey, India and Pakistan. Of course if one goes back into history, back into the Neolithic times or Bronze age, the art of decorating ones body existed even at that time, probably its function varied.

Didier, women being a subject matter in art is a very western concept and is relevant to their history, but if one looks closely at the art forms in other counties such was not the case. There was never any clear cut demarcation saying that this is womans art and this is mans. I would probably say that painting as recording of history under different rulers/kingdoms was mostly done by men ( due to varied reasons), but if one looks at other other art activities, men and women were equal participants in it. And if one goes back even further when they say that human beings lived as a caveman, there is no way in ever saying whether paintings on the wall were done by men or women, these are only presumptions.
Florence, I really liked it when you wrote that -’being ‘here’ (in the diaspora) drives me to document what I am missing, and what needs to be preserved and remembered; that’s my perspective.’ You are so very right, when one leaves ones homeland, one tends to look at the things in a newer perspective. I am going to copy this text of yours and save it for myself.

A “good ” mother is a “good” cook , more to take of a “good” woman. Evolutionary could It be explained that the male human had to circumscribe the woman human to these chores inorder to hope to have an offspring ?. Taking into account that he had to fetch food to feed this woman. Large parts of India used to be Matriarchal societies, and in a few places they still are. Women inherit the property, men inherit their mothers names etc. Upon one of my travels in the Himalayas I was very much surprised to see the man looking after the kitchen, gossiping with the village folk and the woman leaving in the morning with the sheep and a rifle in her hand, coming back late in the evening to be served food by her husband. If one closely studies tribal societies, one can see extreme equalities within the sexes, which one does not get to see in our advanced world now a days.
In most countries all over the world, women are attached to their kitchens whether they live in the city or in the village, their is a saying – one who controls the kitchen controls the house. But one must also take into perspective that when one lives in villages, it is not about being happy or sad, but about survival, life is very tough for men and women in villages, their are no options. But if given a choice (this is not my belief, i interviewed many women, in India/ France/ UK), after a particular age, when most people retire and take it easy women don’t get that option to retire. A place which they love- the kitchen becomes a place they want to escape. My mum is just one prime example. If she does not cook there is no one to cook for my father. I wonder how many women ever speak their mind or what is in their heart? Probably very few. A parallel to this could be that a man has to be a bread winner.

Florence, I make, painting, sculptures, installations, videos… The photograph you saw was of one of the earliest weaving machines in our history, the threads you saw were made from glue and inserted by me within the machines. This was a site specific project which I did in the Museum of Blackburn. You wanted me to write on -the thought of an Indian woman of women in India. I am sorry I did not understand what you meant? Can you please rewrite or rephrase it?

Didier, thank you for giving me some insight into Cameroon, it sounds much like India, with so many different regions and such different thought processes, languages, food etc etc. It is difficult to identify one thing which holds all of it together, it is something very simple, yet very complex and cannot be put into words. Someday I would love to come to Cameroon and to see Cameroon through your eyes!! But one thing I cannot tell you for sure as of now is – how is Dosa made!!! if you want I can find out the recepie and post it on the site?

Florence and Didier, though I have not been in touch for a few days, I would once again like to apologize for my absence. I am posting some photographs, one of them is of my friends, who visited India after eight years. Another is of my friends son in Mumbai and his engagement in Art. The last is of the Mumbai’s Best Bus- the local transportation in the Mumbai city.

Hope you enjoy seeing them. I am very happy to be back.
Warm wishes to both of you for this year ahead,
Bindu

My work

Hello again Florence ,

I am a photographer as you know already.I find my inspiration everywhere and on anything.It s a feeling , an aura , an intution.

As a Cameroonian but as well as a world citizen , I do an everyday photography which consist of showing man and its productions as well as his interactions with matter.I do this photography on a daily base and with varied themes.I love detail and facts so my photography try as much as possible to show reality.I “create reality” too ,  the one psychically present within me and the other.  is  it a principle  that we create what we re within ?

I would love to describe my photography then to be artistic.Is it a hyperbole is it inappropriate? I think no.The founders of photography had to my opinion not the aim of wanting to show aesthetics but rather facts, reality .they wanted to fix and instant, a moment ,a memory and Niepece and Daguerre made photography. It is later that the artistic aspect of photography began to emmerge not over throwing however the scientific aspect of it The history of photography is very complex and has several points of ambiguities. Is it because of photography that the Frere Lumiere discovered cinema? By scientific aspect of photography , I mean the fact that photography trys as much as possible to restitute things as they ve been seen and  shot.The interpreation may vary but the fact of shooting a car for example means that in reality the car exist.The arts and science of doing this shot too may vary from one photographer to another.

My photography is systematically artistic because it goes beyound the simple facts , the simple things we can see , feel or touch.I want to make my sensations have a body ;a form.

The cameroonian context of photography I would say sadly is very poor.As a profession it is poorly  organised.This is my opinion and I stand to what I say. Who is who we don t know? The act of taking photographys is culturally determined rooted in the mentalities of people as from the colonial period.Empirically  , people take photos because they want to record , save or immortalize a memory ,an instant, a moment. They learn this to their offspring who memory the same  patterns  The aesthetic and artistic side of it and surprisingly too the scientific aspect of photography are less considered by consumers and most proffesional.In fact , the consumer’s behaviour determines the type of photography Proffessional or amateur photographers do.

Photography is a lovely school. To me it has no boundries and the act of taking a photo should be well planned.I have this mania of seldomly discarding my photos even when I judge them not good.Taking a photo changes the structure of reality , of space and time.I think it demands much humility as we are at times conforted with opur own reality.This creates most of the time a narcissic crises. In a mirror for example ,a woman or a man might see themselves pretty but when a photo of them is handed to them they might feel disappointed.You cannot imagine how people feel of themselves when they have a photo of them in their hands.The human is so much in love with himself so much so that a bad photography that is one which does not represent ideally/subjectively what they re .

The cameroonian cointext of photography is rich in information.It reveals the chnages in the behavuiours of women , men , children.In fact it shows how the mentalities of cameroonian are changing. I m to do a research on this soon to be published.

In Cameroon photography seems to be resumed ‘ by standing and been shot’. Or shotting things for their value aspect , to keep a souvenir of them or to commerce with them .Photography is much more I am convinced.There is much to a photo and in a photo than just these that is why my works encompass a variety of themes and nourishes itself of a variety of schools of thought.There is no boundry to photography because it is based on objective or subjective reality .  Certain elements of the universe.

An anthropological perspective of photography aims as showing man in reality. Many people when they come to the photographer or when they take photos of themselves are most of the time if not all the time not themselves.They wear masks and have a public personality. In reality people have a lot of difficulties revealing their shadow to a photographer.Why should they?.

The advent of the internet and the myriads of oppurtunities it grants to people to depict aspects of themselves in whole or in part  via media in general but in photos or images in particular is a treasure of information.This makes photography not far from filmaking.That is why Florence it would be lovely to work with you any time why not now :).Lets think of  a theme.

I take photos on a regular base.I use both digital and analogical cameras.I love both.They offer fantastic possibilities each.

I m actually working on themes like aspects of nature; levels of consumption , human interactions, and Reality as a concept. the tabou,love etc.

As I said since I work everywhere and with anything and everything I m constantly oscillating with my viewer.

Arts is first of all a concept thus it cannot seemingly be systematically defined so constricted.

This is now some of my work

Didier de Masso

Didier de Masso

Didier de Masso

Didier de Masso

Re Love and marriage

Hi Florence and Bindu .

How are you doing? How was your weekend? Mine was rich and enriching.I learned enormous things about life and the universe.

Bindu ; I hope you re doing fine we need your presence to spice our dialogue.

Florence before I proceed to answer to your good questions I would first of all show you a work of mine which might try to summarize my thoughts of our former dialogue.

Also, I had asked a question about what you meant by the love in quotes   please what  did you mean when you said How do you, now, imagine the art of your photography when you moved from being in ‘love’ to actually getting married?

I call this art work  a measure of love.

Didier de Masso

‘Brief Encounters’ are great!

 Hello Didier and Bindu

 It’s great that the IAA team has extended the time for our dialogues. I hope that we will find a way to make something tangible out of our ‘Brief Encounters’ by the end of these dialogues.

Bindu: I hope we will communicate again before it’s all over. Are you well?

 

 Didier: please, tell me a little bit more about your artwork (photography) in the context of Cameroon. This is important. I would really love to know about your work as an artist in Cameroon. What kind of photography do you do?

 I am guessing that you have some idea about my work through some of my postings.

Sometime ago, I said that I make documentary films, and if you have time and would like to, you can see excerpts or clips of some of my doc films on the Internet: Zanzibar Soccer Queens, Sisters in Law, and my work-in-progress; Women Artists in Cameroon & Cameroon: Rhythms and Visions.

You are ‘there’ (our Homeland), and I am ‘here’ (in the Diaspora) – I am curious to ‘see’ & ‘know’ about your art., and to find out what is different or what similarities we share in terms of themes or subjects.

 You are a Cameroonian photographer, and I am a Cameroonian documentary filmmaker – do you feel that we can collaborate on a project/subject we are both interested in one day? Is this something that you would like to do?

 On the subject of your “anthropological perspective of photography”, I am keen to know if you are already working on a particular project.

 I am sending you both warmest greetings from Cold Cardiff.

Florence

Can you ‘hear’ my voice in the picture?

FLORENCE AYISI

Dear Bindu,

How are you? Where are you? What’s happening with you in Delhi? I sincerely miss our conversations.

Looks like you are very busy. I hope all is ok.

I went for a walk yesterday (Jan 1st) up the Garth – a hill/mountain near where we live in Cardiff. While I was up there, I was thinking that if I shouted loud and hard, you will hear me in Delhi. Can you hear me in the picture?

Ok, I hope that all is well with you, and that you will be back again with us soon.

Greetings.

Florence

Merci

Thanks Didier
Thanks for sharing your photos of Yaoundé in festival. It’s also good to hear about the nature of your relationship with photography.

So, you are still using 35mm film for your photography? Great! Are you tempted by Digital photography?

I now use only digital cameras.

Your “anthropological perspective of photography” – any particular projects you are working on or developing?

Well, there’s no particular or special reason why I wrote ‘love’ like this – maybe I just wanted you to notice the word; just an emphasis!

It would be great to hear about some of the creative inspirations you have had in your sleepy and tired mood from the Yaoundé festival.

Yes, I do believe in the creative process! And more so, every artist will have his or her own personal approach and style in the process of creating.  

I hope 2010 gives more energy for your art.

Greetings from Wales,
Florence

Yafé

Good evening Florence , Bindu I hope you re doing well.

Here are some of the photos I promised I was to sho you of Yafe.

This is yafé at night.It s at night it s the hottest.

At day its  a bit itmid.

I ll show you my work soon too.

Today has been hot , but in all cases it has been a nice day.

Enjoy your weekend.

Didier de MassoDidier de MassoDidier de Masso

1110

One thousand one hundred and ten.

Do you find it fascinating that certain figures in the  year reoccur?

Finally we re in a “new year” , new just because it ‘s been made to be, if not I don t see how things have changed.Or have they?

I was at the yafé though yesterday and at the 50th Anniversary of Cameroon’s independence.It was might.

From 6pm till 5 am I listened , sang to the myriads of songs several musicians came to sing.

Good Evening Florence , Good Even Bindu How are you? I m good , very god juts tired and sleepy.

Sleep deprivation could give inspiration or induce creativity in some people ? Since yesterday till now I have not slept more than two hours and I feel in a superb creative mood though. It s very hot and in  all points there is no way to escape from it.Mosquitos have began their reign .

Florence in fact I have been in ‘ concubinage’ with photography for years, I just wanted to make things legal with her and myself. Shes not new to me and I m not new to her. Talking of the slippery experiences I can remember when I fogged my first fim in the laboratory.It was not to be fogged but I fogged it.I had to find a means to fog films no more. This first slippery experience was crucial.

I mostly use my hands to develope the films I am to print.

Love is not even a prelude to marriage it s just a minute ingredient.When in love with photography I never knew getting married with her will demand much more patience , efforts, devotion and self control.I constally have to master my impluses so as to effective communicate with her. what she wants is not at times what  I want.

Florence may I know why you wrote love in this sentence in quote?

How do you, now, imagine the art of your photography when you moved from being in ‘love’ to actually getting married?

The more one pratice photography , the more they think the world in terms of  ‘gestalt’, and  ‘umwelt’ as well. It becomes sort of like a viral infection. Infectious and pathogenic.

I think finally that I shhould never think I own her , I should always keep making her feel she is loved by me.Since I married , I m more in peace with myself.

I think Artist create to have money.Some create because it s part of their normal or pathological mental structure.Some others create because it s a therapy to them. Finally I think they create because the artist has a status , a role in our society.

Actually I am developing an anthropological perspective of photography.

Do you believe in the creative process?.

Here is a photo of lights NOW in carrefour Mvog-mbi ( yaoundé ) :)

Didier de Masso

Have a great weekend !!

BLUE moon, New Ear

Hazem and all at IAA:

Cambridge BLUE moon, turning the last  pages of the 2009!

Issam Kourbaj

Issam Kourbaj

Issam Kourbaj

Issam Kourbaj

Wishing you many inspiring days in the coming year, and a very Happy New Ear (as my son. profoundly,  used to say!)

Issam

Russian Salad!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Throwing a handful of Russian salad over the net to you!

Taus Makhacheva

Let Us all end up face down in our own Russian salad tonight!

Happy new year/weaving/webs/net

IMG_1839IMG_1840IMG_1847IMG_1849IMG_1851IMG_1841

When you feel everything is somehow connected and we are all joining a big net
life takes another meaning. This project is a big net that is full of significance also.
I love being part of this, and it is nice to read and get to know others process and thoughts.

I Wish you all a wonderful new year; truly great, full of adventures, joy, neverending curiosity for things to come, creativity, love and inner peace!

best wishes from Colombia

Adriana

Happy New Year 2010 !

Best wishes for the coming new year !

Andro

Andro Semeiko

Transmitter_BASE2F, by Yu-Chen Wang and Andro Semeiko, 2009

‘Love and Marriage’

Hello Didier,

 As a ‘newly wed’ to photography, tell me about some of the slippery’ experiences.

How do you, now, imagine the art of your photography when you moved from being in ‘love’ to actually getting married?

Any thrilling experiences? 

Well, what is the function of any art form?

What is the role of creative artists?

What is the function of photography?

What is the function of movies?

 Entertainment. Storytelling. Fact & Fiction. Argument. Evidence. Ideology. Subjectivity. Objectivity. Point of view. The fiction of reality. Social awareness. The reality of fiction. Interpretation. Fantasy V Reality. Context. Form. A slice of reality.

Why do artists create?

Photography and video: still Vs moving images?

What projects are you currently working on?

Greetings,

Florence

Why?

It’ s really fascinating your mosaic of women artist.They seem to be of the same age group or close to it why? :).they all do the same things in different ways .I m curios about their personalities.

I am very very eager to watch your film.I ll wait for it alertly.

Why do I do photography? :) That is a good question.

I do it because as a kid I was shown that the world is lovely and could be seen via lenses. I do it  because as a kid  I was introduced into photography. I feel in love with it in high school and I got married to it this year. the path leading to  been an artist is a slippery one. At times it leads to depersonalisation I suppose.

I love photography extremely and I laugh to myself  at the idea of taking photos without my eyes. We should thus transcend things Florence to be able to get their real meaning. Do you think we are part of the things we make art of and that they are part of us ? In order words there is no dualism possible in the pratice of arts? Bindu what do you think?

I admire the sculpturist as it ‘s only with his mind and hands that they give life or form to things they touch.It ‘s very intimate relation they have with matter .Touching , mixing , turning up and down, feeling.

Everywhere is my work place , anything is my working material.I have no limits

I believe very strongly that there is no limit in photography.There is no limit artistically and scientifically.

In photography Florence the world is as it is Real. it is true we se only what we want too see but in reality we cannot always veil reality. There is something in Reality  which makes it unalterable.

Florence and Bindu as artist do we portray or depict reality as it is or as we think it?

As it is or as we see it?

When I was a kid my main worry was to shoot what I see with my camera .This  is  still a big problem which  fascinates me. what we see with our eyes and what we see through an optical instrument.

Soon you ll see my work !!.

Is there a difference between the act of taking a photography and the act of taking a video.

What is the function of a video when it is made?

How do you do to be neutral ,  scientifically speaking  from your arts work.?.

I almost forgot , I have never succeeded in  taking my grand ma in action.It ‘s a very sad issue for me as I have longed to do that but timing is the problem . I have however taking her clay pots.

It ‘s  a lovely night , the air is dry and cold and its effects on the skin is terrible.It ‘s lovely because each night fall prepares us for another tomorrow.

Goodnght to all and see you soon !

what about you?

I’m back Didier.

Enough now about me.

So, what about you? Tell me a little about your art.

Why do you take photographs? 

Waiting, and I’m very patient!

Greetings,

Florence

‘wait, you will hear/see for yourself’

 Hello again Didier,

Here are the women:

FLORENCE AYISI

I like your comment that women are creating artwork, rather just being subjects; showing another side of how a woman can be. I think that this also helps to provide a new perspective on many aspects of arts and culture.

 On the subject of what makes this women do art, you may have to wait to see the film; you will hear from them directly about why they do what they do, you will see their artwork and also hear about their individual inspirations. It’s a 50 minutes doc film and it will be ready next year.

 Do you have any photos of your grand mother working on some of her kitchen utensils? I am curious; I am always curious about what women do!

 Ok, will be back soon.

Florence

Body Beautiful

Hi Didier,

FLORENCE AYISI

This photo is part of a series of images that I took for my research on Women and Beauty. This is Henna, and it’s common in Northern Cameroon, especially during ceremonies like weddings. I also found that women do this in Zanzibar when there’s a wedding or an engagement party or celebrating the birth of a baby. Women adorn their bodies with beautiful designs during such special occasions.

I think it’s also common in India: Bindu could confirm this.

I found that it’s part of the process of making the body Beautiful, apart from other things.

Greetings,

Florence

about your arts

There is one Photo that you showed that evokes in me certain images.I d like to know whta that tatooed image is all about?

what is it dear Florence?

women doing arts

I know I  think only the woman sculpting.If not I know a few women artist personally  in yaoundé. Arts practiced by women as you sem to show should have another facet.

It is interesting that women now are the artist and cease to be the subject matter of art essentially.

Florence what makes these women do arts .My grand ma does pottery.She sells them at the market and uses some for her kitchen utensils.hse diggs the clay behind her hut and malaxes it with water.She has a way of moving her hands over the clay which looks like she gets invloved with it.

Bonjour Florence

It was a hot day in yaoundé today.I walked throught the town and I noticed that it is getting ready for the 31st.I love it when the streets are full.There is like a sort of human field that triggers lovely sensations.

I m very glad to know that that woman was a cameroonian.I am suprised by her facial marks which look not so far friom those Zulu women have.It is just too interesting to compare beauties accross the continent.

I think she was a bit embrassed, a bit shy too :).

That dress she were suits her very well, it s hand made right?

I would be interesting to touch the material in question.

The Queen of Bafut should be lovely !!

At the market

I love this pic of the market you took Florence.It smore to do with the manner in which the food stuff are arranged and the colours they have.

A bucket of pepper , bkets of egusti and tomato.

Tomato are very important ingredients for women in yaoundé. Without tomato and OIL , palm oil , no soup !!

Fertile farmland

Hi again Bindu & Didier,

During summer 2007, I witnessed a lot of young boys picking tomatoes to raise money for fees and books. What’s missing in this picture is the singing and whistling that filled the air from about 6am when the sun was rising; it was a beautiful experience!

Didier, do you like the country; I mean rural life? There’s plenty of fertile farmland in the grassland region. I woman on this farm told me that “…so long as there’s tomato, my future is bright…” – just like the orange advert? What she said made me feel so proud and privileged to come from this country.

Even though I have not been resident in Cameroon for over 23 years, I sometimes feel that I have never really left the place  whenever I go back to visit. New technology has greatly facilitated the chance to instantly capture and document many aspects of our daily life; that’s why my cameras are my best friends when I visit home. My filmmaking has enabled me to travel to many different towns and cities. 

Somehow, I am convinced that being ‘here’ (in the diaspora) drives me to document what I am missing, and what needs to be preserved and remembered; that’s my perspective.

Florence Ayisi

Florence

More Visions of Cameroon

Florence Ayisi

Visions of Cameroon

Hi Didier & Bindu,

I am posting a few photos to support Didier’s  comment about Cameroon and its abundant foodstuff. I like Didier’s comment – “There is food like there is air.” I agree. I have researched and developed a doc film project on aspects of agriculture, in particular, the cultivation, buying and selling of different farm produce. Tomato is my favourite. I went to many farmlands and markets in and around Yaounde, Obala, Bafoussam, Bangante, Douala & Kumba, Limbe – taking still and moving images, speaking to farmers and traders. I’m sure Didier has been to some, or all of these places.

I find it hard to resist the marketplace, especially fresh produce, when ever I travel to my ‘homeland’. The market is the heart & soul of our daily bread and I like the noise, the hustle and bustle of the ‘buyam sellam’ – I love watching these men and women; they are feisty, energetic and passionate about buying and selling.

I had an amazing experience when I visited a tomato farm; I saw a red palate, a sea of red. Yes, Bindu, as Didier says, Cameroon has a lot of food, thanks to the fertile land. It’s my hope to capture some these on film.

Bindu, how about the market in Delhi?

Here is the Mfoundi Market in Yaounde. This is July 2007. I met some fantastic characters.

Greetings to you both,

Florence

Florence Ayisi

The Woman – what do you think?

Hello Didier,

What do you think? Is she embarrassed or smiling? As a viewer, you will have to decode the photo in terms of what you see, and how you relate to her? What do you see when you look at her?

 The photo was taken during FENAC 2008 in Maroua. She is from the Northwest Region, from the village/town of Bafut.

Thousands of people attended this National festival of Art and Culture. I saw a woman who looked so proud to display her traditional costume at the festival. When I asked if I take a photo of her, she said to me “…make sure I look nice in the picture…I am the Queen’s dresser.”  When we interviewed her on film, she narrated, with pride, her role in ensuring that the Queen looks beautiful at all times.

 Greetings,

Florence

another photo

Hi again,

another artist in the doc film I am editing

Florence Ayisi

Florence

photo – women make art

Hi Bindu & Didier,

I have attached some of the photos I promised showing my work-in-progress; a still from the film.

Didier, as an artist living in Yaounde, maybe you know her? I am not assuming that Yaounde is small, and that you know everyone.  

Florence Ayisi

photos

Florence AyisiFlorence Ayisi

emotions

Florence the woman you photographed is she smiling or is she embarrassed?

Brillant !!

Florence this Photo is very interesting.

I like the timing you did and the composition you decided to choose.

When I saw it the first question that came to my mind was, whta is she doing? why is she smiling?

was it your presence causing her to smile?.

I find the rythm created by the bamboo sticks I pressume good.It s like rawness in such a delicate manner.

From which Region of the world is this woman?.

why did you take this pic ?

Re Women

It is with great delight I read Women a post of yours Bindu. The Woman is one of my artitistic and scientific theme. I will not want to go further for it demands a lot of elaboration  .

I have a great respect for what you as a Woman first then a woman from India second can say about women in general. It is not evident .

I have been very attentive to the life of the woman in India via several media. It is astonishing the manner in which the woman in India is considered. The issues of feticide is puzzling and troubling. As you pointed out the issue of understanding Women in their context is very intricate. You are right some women seek for finacial dependency whereas others seek for finacial independency. The status of the woman is historically determined by men .

If the Kitchen, this symbol of a woman ‘s place seem to  pose so many problems it could be because of Men’s exceptional oral needs. I wonder if men unlike women have not suffered more from the negative effects of weening ? It is like there is dependency of men vis a vis this issue . A “good ” mother is a “good” cook , more to take of a “good” woman. Evolutionary could It be explained that the male human had to circumscribe the woman human to these chores inorder to hope to have an offspring ?. Taking into account that he had to fetch food to feed this woman. Food which will give her energy to fukky act as mother and woman. Would his role and status note be unclear if he did not think that way?

Sex differences and sex role differences are lovely and neccesary I presume. It s what leads to divison of labour.

It is always so much very delicate to be not pasionate whne talking about sexuation , Gender, biological sex and psychological sex.in my humble opinion , it is in how we consider our status be it as a man or a woan that creates the problem.

In the West of Cameroon in particular and in the grassfields in general, the woman has a fundamental place  in the kitchen. The family she manages cannot do without her presence there. She is the farmer with hr kids and the food she farms she has to bring home and cook it. In several parts of Camroon the woman sems to be very crucial in this place . My mama talks of the kitchen as her Office. She hates any intrusion. I love at times to be there but she hates it vehemently. She sees in this  a subtle form of ursupation. I cannot genralise from this single isolated fact.However there ambiguity this fact creates is problematic. There is no evidence to show then that those women are  not happy in this Place. Is there evidence to show they are sad ?

I love this concept Bindu and how lovely would it be to transcripe this into a photography!!.It would be very lovely indeed.

By the way in work art field are you in? I saw photos of a sewing machines and threads ? Should I conclude ? :).

It will be interesting to investigate on this further scientifically!.

I saw the movie Silences of the palace once just once and it is within me till now. The shoots were good ,  the lights and angles ,the actresses  so much  into the movie. There is one girl in the movie I admired a lot. Ah movies have this fantastic thing in that they speak for a million .They show humanity by humans in very captivating and imaginative and as well innovating ways.

Bindu I would love you talk to me more about the woman in India .In fact ,the thought of an Indian woman of women in India.

Answers and Questions

Florence I am now in Yaoundé you might have already guessed.

Bindu I come from Cameroon that is true. Cameroon is a country found in central africa.

What makes Cameroon is its people thus its culture. There are about 280 different ethnic groups in Cameroon. So as many ways of thinking about a cameroonian as about Cameroon.What is lovely in all of these is that inter-ethnical breeding is rich and abundant. It is very stricting I tell you when you move throughout Cameron to see that each region – Cameron has ten regions with each of it having a capital-has a specificity not only biogeographically but culturally.

I have grown in yaoundé  a good part of my life but I have travelled to a good number of regions as well.There is this air which each region ha that fills your lung and permeates your clothing.

For  example the Yaoundeans are not like the Doualaens , they don t think same way , they don t live the same way, they don t feel he same way. i mean the social psychology of these people are intricate and yet so much interesting.

What makes again Cameroon Dear Bindu is food stuffs.There is food like there is air. It will seem to be a hyperbol but in reality it is not. Today I realised that basically there are about six different fruits and vegetables that literraly circulate in Yaoundé. There is Pinapple , Pawpaw, oranges, tangrines, Coconuts , aubergines, and Bananas,- I said six right ? :) there ae much more. Bananas seem to be always present as wel as coconuts .The others are seasonal.It is true that with this global warming effect issu, the climate in yaoundé has chnaged in less than 25 years.This fact makes me to be unable to say wth precision which food stuff comes out and at what period.

It is true that agriculture is now modernised and new techniques enable farmers to grow crops throught the year.that is why I was lovingly suprised to see safou again today while walking in the streets. Safou is a fleshy , fatty , small vegetable . It grows like a tree and bares hanging fruits which become  dark upon maturity. Safou can only be eatten as no word can totally explain its flavour !!.

Cameroon and its people are warm.Indeed we have life within us :).

I am far Bindu to have said all about the scientific and artistic aspects of Cameroon. As I grow I learn to know more my Country and it s contents.

Night is falling over Ongola and Yafé is on the lips of everyone !! :).

Bindu how is Dosa really made? I am happy to have to communicate with someone from India , eally happy :).

Have Bindu and Florence a nice today and tomorrow.

Photos

Hi Bindu & Didier,

 

I have attached some photos of my work-in-progressFLORENCE AYISI

Dear Florence

It s very nice for me to finally have to talk with someone in here.I was still toddling and it s now I realise I can stand on my two feets.I have missed the trends of the so lovely conversations you have been having in here.I love the themes you talk and talked  about and we can rebegin talking on any one if you like.

Yes, I have been to Yafé , the ambience there is just too unique, just too entising .Unfortunately I have not yet found a manner of getting into touch with this ambience to then create a photo.So many things to see, and most night time is not like day time. Things are not real.There is something I am sure however, the aura that permeates Yafé is presistent and seems to animate the place indeed.This motivates me to go there !!

It is all colourful and there is music , uniquely this year gospel music.It s really sensational to realise also that it creates a difference in the consuming behaviour of the people there.

I am following it very carefully and before the end of the week I should era Florence bring something out of this cocktail of details.

Thank you for the wishes, I hope you had a lovely one too.

Hope and Energy

 Hi Bindu,

Oh yes, you have the talent; it’s evident in how you are communicating!

Are you working on a project now in Delhi? When are you due back in London?

You can see photos of examples of my work-in-progress: the film about women Artists is called Art of this Time, Art of this Place: Women Artists in Cameroon – it’s a 50 mins doc film. The other work is called Cameroon: Rhythms and Visions – this is about the National Arts and Culture festival, and we shot it in December 2008. We will have 2 versions – 60 mins & 90 mins.

You have made my experience on the IAA dialogues worthwhile; and I thank the IAA team for connecting us; giving me a chance to ‘engage’ with another artist. Even though ‘we’ don’t share the same ‘homeland’, I strongly believe that we have something in common that has allowed us to ‘find a way’ to have a dialogue. I sincerely appreciate this. I value the time that you have spent communicating with me; a nice big step that could develop into bigger steps for the future. So now, I have a positive energy, and hope that as we enter 2010, my creative practice could take a new turn; maybe fresh eyes for me to continue finding ways to explore and communicate contemporary African lives and visions to audiences?

The Himalayas – I looked on the atlas yesterday to locate the spread of the Himalayas and the different countries. Nepal looks tempting as a possible destination for a big adventure.

Thanks for clarifying the ‘curry Jalfrezi’ issue, and for narrating the origin of the dish.

Springtime is great here in Wales, especially with the daffodils, but early summer is also very beautiful. You’re welcome, anytime!

Best for now,

Florence

Silent Revolutions

Hello Bindu,

Oh yes, regardless of women’s social & economic backgrounds, or their positions, they generally face a range of difficulties. Most often it’s simply because their roles and expectations have been clearly defined; evidently presenting obstacles and limitations in many different ways.

For some women, trying to cross the line of the defined boundaries is either impossible, or very tough.

I think the idea of a woman (and her body) mostly defined within the context of the home, provides a myriad of ways that she is confined, physically or mentally. Your idea of The Kitchen is fantastic within the wider context of the home/house as a cage; most women feel locked up! They feel enslaved, frustrated, troubled and lonely, like the women in Moufida Tlatli’s 1994 film, Silences of the Palace – the women ‘upstairs’ and those ‘down stairs’ face similar hardships. And the spatial metaphors of the positions occupied by these women from different social backgrounds is amazing.

With more awareness and choices, it’s sometimes comforting to know that women can break free, with time – even with small steps. Progress is slow, but changes are happening. Sometimes the  revolution is silent! But maybe our different forms of artwork could highlight these small steps, and share a slice of the new realities that are different.

Making art, is taking a position; one that enables us to speak ‘uncomfortable truths’, so that we/others can see that the cage, the kitchen could be negotiated to accommodate other desires.

I really like the concept of The Kitchen and I hope I will have the privilege to see it.

Yes, it would be great to consider doing something we’re both hunger to explore…

Of course, the issues around people on the margins and those at centre are not a clear case of black & white; It’s much more complex as you rightly say. I’m attempting to finds ways to explore some of these complexities in my work, and then manifest ‘slices’ of that in visual representations.

It’s good to hear about how the nature of your work changes depending on where you are.  For me, I have not had the privilege to live in my home country long enough to imagine how my work could be. That is since I came out of film school. But my ‘home country’ and the lives & experiences of Africans in general provide a certain muse for what I do.  When I travel to Cameroon, (or other African countries), I am constantly searching for the ‘pearls’, for images, values, ways of being that also define us as a people – things that say something different from how we have been represented. So my positioning in the diaspora (and sensibilities), affect the kind of work I make. In any small way I can, being ‘here’ enables me to fill the missing gaps that tell different stories and alternatives with perspectives that are much more complex. This way, audiences can imagine us in others ways.

On my current projects: I’m in postproduction for 2 projects (Women Artists in Cameroon, and a project on a Cameroonian Arts and Cultural festival). I’m doing research & developing a project on ‘Women and Beauty’ (to be shot in Cameroon), and another on Diaspora: the Cameroonian-American community in Washington DC).

The project about your father’s migration sounds great. It may have some similarities with my Washington DC project, which I plan to undertake the second stage during the Easter break (another point for our discussion after IAA?). What does INSABIATTI mean? No worries about the photos – we have time, even after we have finished our dialogues.

Same here; I always look forward to reading from you, and I am sincerely grateful that we were connected. Speaking to another artist is refreshing. 

I agree, time is short but I am pleased that in the short period that we have been communicating, I have been inspired! I have also learnt a lot about other artists and how they contextualize their work – all these will stay with me and will encourage me in many different ways.

Thanks for reading Bindu, and I’m wishing you happy times over ‘there’

Florence

Women

Hi, I did make one work, which was titled The Kitchen, but the work was more centered around women then around working women. I think lives of most women, whether in developing countries or poor countries is very hard. One has to deal with both physical and psychological pressures. But i also feel that whether women do a job or they are from the Bollywood industry, both in their own ways lead a very tough life. They both have to work extremely hard even though there is a huge social and financial difference, it is not an easy life for either of them. I have not done any work on the lives of working women or how women cope with the daily challenges that they have become part of or how they have to live to make ends meet. It maybe something interesting to work on. You are right, there are many such personal stories of struggle, survival, achievements and hope and probably we have come across it many a times, but take no notice of it or acknowledge it in anyways.

Yes we could compare notes on this when we meet, or see if there is a possibility of working on a project after IAA?

Florence you had mentioned and talked about the notion of center and the periphery. Probably here in this case one cannot think in terms of the center or the periphery, the situation is far more complex. Women in some social spaces are looking for financial independence, and in some places they seek financial dependence. For me financial dependence may be living at the periphery, for someone coming from an elite background financial dependence maybe be living in the center. So, when I look at the lives of the working women who spend hours travelling to and fro from Mumbai, I think the issues is more complex, besides mere survival.

My ‘absence in time’ from Mumbai does give me a space to create artwork that is different. Infact each time I change country, my work changes rapidly, it is very painful, almost like giving birth, but all that joy and pain is worth it in the end. My work is definitely affected by where I stay. But I do feel that we are positioned wantingly or unwantingly within the diaspora framework and art practice and that this context is very different from art from our country of origin. Though if one delves deeper then there are many unresolved questions that need to be addressed.

What is the new film that you are working on? Will it be shot in UK, or do you plan to go to Cameroon to shoot it? I am working on a project, my father- he is the first generation that experienced migration. Often the effect of migration on families lasts through generations. Whether it is voluntary or forced, the effects are very painful. I have done some research on it, and interviewed people as well, and think it is important to look at this issue in another manner. I recently did a show on the issue of migration- the project was called INSABIATTI, but i feel i need to delve in and push the work.

Please forgive me for not uploading my pictures of the places I have been living in India, I will do so tomorrow. There will be no more excuses. There are such few days left for this dialog to finish, it is already the 27th, but after the final date i will often think about you, as to what you r doing at the moment in wales. Each day I get up and look forward to reading your mail/text…But I have to thank everyone at IAA, for giving me this opportunity of knowing you and reading Brenda’s write up to other artists. After a long time I am experiencing extreme positivity through net(!!!) and awakening of a newer way of seeing and thinking.
Warm wishes to you too Florence,
Bindu

Curry Jalfrezi!!

Honestly you write very well. Its is a knack I have often wished I had. Anyhow thanks for the photograph, it is really beautiful. I have heard that wales is very beautiful, i will now be able to see it. You are right when you said that it was times like these when you feel that you live in another place, other than your homeland. Someone told me that it has been snowing in London and I was really anxious to go back, so as not to miss another spell of snowfall in London.

I have been to the Himalayas many a times, but the area is huge and covers many different states, probably each the size of UK or larger. I may go there, but as of now it does not seem possible. There is too much to do here in Delhi, though I have an open invitation from a friend who lives there.

Delhi gets cold, the temperature dips till 4degrees, but it has been a very warm winter this year, besides living in UK, I do not feel the cold as much. But towards the evening now a days, one does experience chill in air. Also the houses are not centrally heated, so one feels colder inside the houses then walking down the streets!

Hmmm!!!!!!!!!! so you had curry jalfrezi!!!! Honestly it is very funny to read that, or when shops have something like Chai Tea written on their menu cards. Chai also means tea, so when i read chai tea, it is tea tea… which is ridiculous!!! Curry just means a gravy and Jalfrezi is a kind Indian dish in which marinated pieces of meat or vegetables are fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. The word jalfrezi dates from the times of the Mughals
( Muslim rulers who ruled India from 12 century) when it was created as a way of using leftover meat. So now u understand as to why i find it funny to read curry Jalfrezi.

Well thank you so much for offering to send me a copy of your film, I will be honoured greatly. I would love to show you my work when i come back or when we meet, either ways we will work out something.

Cheers till then,
Bindu

Have a Gooday :)

Well, after another Christmas one might think it s till long to experience another one.Time is such a mess these days.As soon as you feel it as soon as you don t any more !!.

It is a lovely weather in yaoundé.I did some walking to get the real state of what it looks like on a sunday morning after a Hot and torrid 24th , 25th and 26th December.To my suprise the town is full of people.

I guess on the first it will be much more hot !!.

Have a gooday !! :)

Didier De masso

The end is nigh

Hello Didier,

I have not forgotten about you at all. I still have hope that you rise again from the Yafè festivities and the ‘heat’ to talk to us. If it’s Internet problems, then we just have to wait until you are able to connect with us again.

 I have hope that we will get to have a conversation before it’s all over. I hope you will send us some photos from Yafè 2009. 

 Best wishes for 2010.

Florence

‘Working women in art’

Hello again Bindu

I did not completely ignore your posting of Dec 23rd – in particular your comment on the lives and times (and reality) of what you called “working women” – have you made any work relating to their situation and experiences? I am keen to know how they struggle and survive; it’s always great to hear stories of how women cope with the daily challenges that have become part of how they have to live to make ends meet. I am curious about how the world of the “working women” co-exists with that of the Bollywood stars and elite; the ‘centre’ & the ‘margin. Are their worlds connected in anyway?

 It’s a sad situation to imagine, but the reality in most cases as you rightly say is that most of these working women “…have no personal lives of their own…” - this is exactly what one female artist in Cameroon explores in a project she was working on last year; she called it “suicide” – that women sacrifice so much of their time and ambitions doing the things they ‘have’ to do, and most often, they never get to do what they ‘want’ to do. Behind the “hardships they endure” they must be amazing stories of struggle, survival, achievements, and most of all hope.

 Maybe we could compare notes of this topic when we meet?

 During one of my field research trips in Cameroon, I learnt that women (petty traders, farmers, etc), are on the move to ensure a better life for their children. A lot of women I spoke to expressed sadness about their situation, they would have liked a better education, they would have preferred to get married at an older age, and so on. However, there was a common theme of their desire to shift the position of their children from the ‘margin’ to the ‘centre’ – for them, the ‘centre’ is a place of respectable and dignified living, not one of hardship and shattered dreams. The fact of the matter is, if we look closely at what these women do, we can see traces of how they are determined to cross the poverty line. More on this at another time…

 Does your ‘absence in time’ from Mumbai give you a space to create artwork that is different from what you would make if you were there? Maybe I am referring to our locations ‘here’ – how being in the Diaspora affect what we produce. Do our Diasporic lives & Visions position us differently in relation to our fellow artists who live and practice their art in our ‘countries of origin’?

When we travel, we see ourselves, our people, our culture different.

Ok, let me stop here for now. 

Warm greetings,

 Florence, a Cameroonian in Wales.

‘A certain kind of excitement’

Hello Bindu,

December 25th

I went for a walk with my partner yesterday morning – (Dec 25th); snow-white paths, icy and slippery, but great views around the nature reserve near where we live. I will send you some photos of a ‘misty canal’, and very atmospheric views all around. It’s times like these, in particular, that I ‘feel’ I live in another place; that is other than my homeland. 

Then, I had lunch with my neighbour; a very nice Dutch lady. I went to her house to share and keep her company as the snow prevented her from visiting her son in England. We had a great time together! I had curry (JALFREZI – with prawns, cashew nuts, Tindori and mushrooms).

Is JALFREZI a South Indian dish? I am a regular visitor to an Indian vegetarian restaurant here in Cardiff – fantastic authentic food…I haven’t asked them if their dishes are from North, South, East or West India.

You had cold weather in Delhi? There was I imagining you in nice warm/hot weather, and I in snow-white and icy streets.

Going to the Himalayas sounds wonderful. Have you been before? Maybe this is a silly question… Well, if you decide to go, I hope I get to see a photo of where you went (you in the photo, at a specific location, of course).

Thanks for your kind words and understanding; the idea of being part of the FB community and connecting with ‘lost’ friends, and also sharing with new people sounds great. I’ll get there in the end, somehow.

Yes, talking about energy; time to prepare, deliver, assess work, and then do all teaching & learning related admin duties. Then time for my research…

 Thanks; great that we will meet, and BTW, a DVD screener copy of ZSQ will be on its way as soon as you are back at your ‘home’ in London.

 Me? Excellent writer? You are so kind with your words, and thank you for your compliments! I think that it’s more to do with ‘action’ & ‘reaction’, ‘cause’ & ‘effect’. The fact of the matter is that in the process of our conversations, your comments and questions have given me the chance to feel ‘excited’, (honest!) and also ‘look back’ (with pleasure) at some of what I’ve been doing. Also, when I read about you, your work, and of your ideas, I did feel a certain a certain kind of ‘excitement’ that pushes me to think beyond… Thank you!!!

It’s not very often that one gets to speak about one’s practice – to ‘others’. A lot of the time, I speak to ‘myself’, and my passion leads me to enter those places that I would not otherwise venture into. It’s a space of special privilege; ‘the lives of others’, and how through our encounter, they can project or represent themselves (as they wish)…

Yes, making ZSQ meant so much, and still means a lot especially, when I think about what has happened to the women since the film started screening at festivals, how audiences have reacted to the film, and more importantly, what the film means to the women in Zanzibar. Actually, soon after the screening of the film at ZIFF, Nassra emailed me that so many women want to join the Women Fighters’ team.

The Taarab songs are mostly love songs. I don’t speak a work of Swahili. One of the songs is called SIBADILIKI; they told me this means ‘I cannot change’. We laughed (together) when they told me this, and they asked me to work it out. I felt that these very clever women appropriated the songs to suit what they want to say about their passion for football. The other songs SELELEA and SEMENI, are also very popular Taarab songs in my opinion, the women chose very wisely.

 I appreciate your kind comments about ZSQ. Such comments provide the vital tonic water needed by independent artists who are working with little or no means and mostly outside the mainstream.

I am always keen to celebrate how women live, their strengths, beauty, pain, struggles and achievements. Making ZSQ gave me the chance to explore some of these, and I have felt very privileged that the Zanzibari women accepted me an opened up as if I ‘belonged’ to their community – this is the beauty of ‘Women’, and I like this very much, and I am inspired by women’s lives, experiences and situations. WHAT ABOUT YOU? I hope that I will get the chance to see some of your work, in the near future.

Will be in touch again soon.

 

Greetings from Cardiff.

 

Florence

South Indian Food

Hello Florence,
A Merry Xmas to you. Hope you had a wonderful time with friends and family. I was to spend it with my friends but my husband is here for a short time, so I decided to spend time with him and having some delicious South Indian food.
Yes Jupiter seems like next door, and only a child can make the most complex things sound so simple. So now I am back in Delhi. It is rather cold, and I have an invitation to go to the Himalayas, but am not sure if I will go.
Anyhow, I enjoyed hearing about your views on FB, well you dont have to be on FB if you dont feel like. Its only now that I have started using it, but I am not a regular user and neither do I have the time to sit for hours on FB. And there are many people who are not using it, so its OK if you do not feel like using it. You have a lot on your platter, and teaching is very time consuming. It takes up a lot of energy and then one has ones own work to do as well. Yes, I would love to meet up with you after IAA dialogues, and talk at length.
I too enjoyed teaching, and you are right, we learn so much from our own students. they give us more than we give them. You are very lucky to be teaching in a University and to have that opportunity.
Florence you are an excellent writer. I really like the way u write, not only is it very expressive but it is very conversational too. I can almost feel as if you are sitting next to me and both of us are having a chat. It seems that you not only enjoyed making the film but that on some level it meant a lot to you as well. The film was interesting more so since it also assisted the audience to get rid of their own preconceived notions of muslim women and especially women from the continent of Africa. It is such an optimistic film, how I wish that many people would make such films filled with pride, courage, strength and happiness. Most people think that art cannot make a difference, but I think art makes a huge difference but it is not tangible, one cannot see it or touch it but one sure can sense it and feel it, much like your film, it must have changed the perceptions of the audience who viewed it and also the lives of the women soccer players. I think your film gave them the added courage and strength to continue against all odds.
One could read so many things in the film, but probably for the women in Zanzibar, it was but the simple pleasure of playing soccer that really mattered the most to them. I loved the music as well, but is it possible for you to tell me as to what the lyrics meant? Also I would like to know as to where I can get to see the full film, is it on any website? The website -www.zanzibarsoccerqueens.com , has only a small clip, and it would be great to see the complete film.
Florence, I will write to you again, I enjoyed reading your response and really appreciate that you were up so late at night. Bye for now and will be back on the net tomorrow,
Cheerfully,
Bindu

Yes waiting to hear from you

Hello Didier,
Yes we both are waiting for your answers. Either you must be very busy or you are having problems with the net connections. It sure would be nice to hear from you, learn something about your home, your work, your art practice…
Do write since there is very little time left, but as they say that it is never too late.
Waiting for your reply,
Cheerfully,
Bindu

Missing answers

Hi Didier,

It seems the Yaounde festival has swallowed you up.  I hope you are having fun.

Anyway the heart of the matter is that I have not yet received any answers to my many questions; which means I know nothing about you, or your artwork. It would be really nice to communicate with you properly before the curtain drops.

I shall wait for news from Didier – it’s only when you score Goals that I can get to know you.

Bonsoir mon ami.

 

Florence

Reflecting on a beautiful time and place

Dear Bindu,

 I believe that the fantastical world of kids can produce stories/images that would make us feel we haven’t even started living. Traveling to Jupiter on a motorcycle sounds like fun; no crash helmets required!

 An “incomplete worldly experience” Ok, I better hurry to sort the FB business… for we know not when the exit will be! Hmm, pressure is good.  I shall plunge into this FB birth, but rather than be reckless, I will try to be enthusiastic and reasonable about time devoted to it. When I see people spending more that 3 hours day, it scares me to think that I will have to do the same to be part of the FB community. Hmm, ok, I will take your advice seriously – just to ensure that I do not miss out on this worldly experience; somehow, me saying this sounds more like a fantasy – but it’s real because I believe I am making a promise. Ok!

 Yes, I teach film; both theory and practice. I have been at the International Film School Wales (University of Wales, Newport) for over 9 years. It’s only in the last 5 years that I have been able to make doc films, which are part of my practice-based research at the university. In the past 6 years, I have been teaching mainly documentary film. More about details of my teaching when we meet? I am hoping we will…after our dialogues – London to Wales or Wales to London…

 Uploading my work on FB – this is good, and I like the idea of finding a new ‘platform’ and ‘space for another kind of audience/viewer to engage with my work. My editor told me this last year – but time and patience are what I am lacking… now that you have mentioned the FB again, I will have to get on with it, rather than just keeping thinking about it. I feel someone will have to hold my hand, very tightly, on the way to my FB birth. One of the great pleasures of teaching is that, I learn a lot from my students -‘young bright things’! They get a lot of pleasure teaching their lecturers something they are good at; this is how I learnt Powerpoint. I was still using acetates on OHP, and I made a confession that I did not have the time, patience to sit and workout this powerpoint business. Then my world changed! Within show than 10 minutes, I knew what I was doing, and a week later, I was behaving as if I had always used ppt. I must confess that I can’t do sophisticated things yet, but I am confident that my crawling will eventually graduate to ‘zapping text from all corners of the screen.

The beauty of the Internet – I don’t underestimate the power of the Internet in its capacity and impact on information flow, and how we connect and reach out to others. I am also not assuming that we are all connected to this virtual world. However, with gradual steps and, to use your metaphor of ‘birth’ and ‘crawling’, new technology is reaching to parts of the world where coca-cola had gone before but didn’t create an impact; Internet, video cameras, mobile phones are the reaching far and wide. Today, within a few minutes of a new baby being born in my hometown in Cameroon, I see a picture sent through the Internet or by phone. So, I am delighted that you can sit in Mumbai and talk about my film to your husband

Generally, it’s only in asking that we can know more… But the process of ‘telling’ others about your work, produces another level that enable me to reflect beyond the work itself. Sorry, that my answers will be long…

Looking back, my curiosity about women’s lives took me to Zanzibar. I was very curious to know why Western Women had migrated to a place in Africa. What were they searching for? Why Zanzibar? Why would they come to Africa, a continent whose general image in mainstream media is a place where only ‘not so nice’ things happen? How could they leave their comfort zones? I was invited by the Women’s Panorama, part of Zanzibar International Film festival (ZIFF 2005), to film/document a series of workshops where western women were going to frankly speak about the reasons why they are “here” (in Zanzibar). I worked on the project for 5 weeks. Zanzibar was beautiful, (the people, the place, the food), welcoming and noisy. The turquoise ocean, coconut trees, white sand on the beaches, the deep orange sunset, plus the stars at night made it a magical place.

I called the film OUR WORLD IN ZANZIBAR”

At the end of the project, I could see why some of the women left USA, England, Holland, etc to come to Zanzibar, in Africa. For me, this project gave me the chance to show another side of Africa. But more importantly, when it was over, my curiosity was intensified; I wanted to know about the ‘African Woman’ in this fabulous place.

I had seen the local women in the streets, markets, festival site, but I didn’t have the chance to engage with them in any meaningful way. I was searching for something else. I really wanted to know a little bit more about the Zanzibari Woman; another reality that ran deeper than the traditional image of Muslim women in public. My questions and curiosities lead me to meet women who are beautiful, proud, strong-minded, supportive and ambitious. I met women who experienced pain; but who had found a ‘space to be free’ and to share a common passion. I was fascinated and very keen to celebrate what they do. This is because women playing soccer in a predominantly Muslim country tells us something new and different about a ‘particular reality’ of women’s lives and experiences in an Africa society.

 Nassra J. Mohammed, the founder and coach of the Women Fighters’ team, was so passionate, energetic, generous and an inspiration to the young women who wanted to enjoy soccer; a universal game. I didn’t want these women to be forgotten! Telling their stories, for me, was a way to create a new point of reference and a different way to represent African women.

We shot the film during the Easter break (4 weeks in April 2006), and 3 weeks during Summer 2006. The editing/postproduction process was even longer because it was a self-financed project. We finished the longer version (101 mins) of the film by December 2006 and it was premiered at the Gothenburg Film Festival. In March 2008, I completed the 52 mins version for TV. 

When the film was screened at ZIFF 2007, the team was invited to the stage before the screening. I was nervous for them because of certain scenes in the film; like the one where the women are wearing swimming costumes. It was the first time the players were seeing the film; they were very proud to get the attention, to see themselves on the Big Screen, to hear their favourite Taarab songs they selected when we were shooting. The positive audience reaction throughout the screening gave them hope and courage…

In August 2008, ZANZIBAR SOCCER QUEENS was screened at a festival in Germany. As a result of this screening, an organization invited Women Fighters’ team to Germany (Sept 2009) to play a series of friendly games with women’s teams, and to take part in an education & culture programme.

Well, my dear Bindu, sorry about this long response. It was a delight to reflect on your questions and I hope that I have shared and communicated an aspect of my film practice to you in the process of answering your questions. The audience makes the work complete; their questions keep the work alive, but also help the filmmaker/artist to imagine their work long after the inception of the project.

 Thanks for being an audience!

Well, it’s 2:15am here and posting this dialogue now means that someone will know that I didn’t go to bed when I said I would. Well, that’s life – some things just have to be done! I still have to find a way to invite you to the worldly experience of FB so I can see some of your work.

Ok, I will be back again, soon. Thanks for reading.

Florence

Happy Holidays everyone!

Dear 2009 IAA artists in dialogue from here and from over there,

I am sending you all very warm greetings and wishing you all a Happy Holiday from the snowy city of Cardiff. The snow always give a sense of something new and different as we end the year, and begin a new one here in Wales. I have come to love the snow as part of my ‘other home’ here. When I get the chance to travel to my country of birth, the ‘heat’ wakes me up to another reality of my other self.

 I wish you all wonderful and beautiful things in 2010.

For those of you who are keen on Soccer, 2010 is an important year for Africa. The world will be watching another kind of battle on African soil – scoring Goals to win, not making war.

Warm greetings from the lovely cold weather here.

 

Florence

Merry Christmas from Georgia!

Thank you very much Andro, I also want to wish you and all those who try to Imagine Art After,  Merry Christmas a Happy New Year.

Luka Zautashvili

Speak to you soon! ;)

Pressing

Finally time is ending soon.365 days seem to come to seize itself in a few days from now hence.

It s hot and nothing to do with the heats in the short dry season.iN between two mental events I was wondering who I should bring to Yafé tonite.I feel dizzy and uneasy yet my envies of been bathed in this biomass creates something in me , like cords vibrating.

Delicate , silent and pressing time events are begining.

I am aware who will join the club? :)

back to delhi

Hi,
I leave for Delhi, tomorrow morning. Cities like Mumbai are exhausting, since the sheer size of them consumes one completly. I went to central Mumbai today which is at least an hour and a half away, if one does not get stuck in traffic jams. By 5pm it felt as if I had a 16 hour long day and I did not have any rest for ages. It often makes me think of working women, who travel 10 hours everyday!!!! that is 5 hours each way to come to work in the city of Mumbai. Probably I have no right to complain. The day starts for them at 4 in the morning and finishes at 12 at night. 4 hours of sleep each day, besides office, train, cooking and children they have no personal lives of their own. My hour and a halves journey seems inconspicous compared to the hardships they endure. Yes this is the city of Mumbai, a city drenched in paradoxes. Walking down the road yesterday, it was hard to bear the constant honking. The noise was deafening, and I was instantly transported back to London, where it is hard to receive forgiveness if one dares to honk. I also attended a gallery opening in Mumbai, attended by the Bollywood stars and the Mumbai elite and glitterati. I used to be a part of this time capsule and now felt far removed from it. London gives one the oppurtunity to be absent in time.
Yes I do love this city. So tomorrow morning I leave for Delhi, and I will meet my friends and family for Xmas and New Year.

yes, there is always a way

Hi, well I am very blessed to know some wonderful people in my small world, and the oppurtunity to travel makes it possible for me to meet them again. so coming to mumbai was great, i could spend time with my dear friends and their kids…..The film my husband edited has just been completed so as yet it is not available on DVD.
You have a real good sense of humor, when i read about your comments on facebook I was laughing all the way through. Well I too am a recent user of facebook, probably I have just taken birth and am learning to crawl right now. I have had some teething problems, which has caused me sleepless nights and high temperature. You have my full sympathy right now!!! please take birth else without FB, this worldy experience will be incomplete!!!!
Jokes apart, I have taken some photographs of mine along with my friends in Delhi and Mumbai, I will try to upload them for you to see. For the past two days I have been playing with my friends son- drawing and painting. It is so much fun drawing and painting, or doing anything with kids, they are natural story tellers- It just came to my knowledge that one could go to Jupiter on a motorcycle!!!!
Well thankyou for the offer for coming to share my art and experience with the students of Newport School of Art, Media and Design. Yes I do like teaching, and it will be great to discuss the offer after the IAA dialogues. Are you teaching there and if so what do you teach?
You had asked me about the images of the workers, well the photos are archival photos and are from the industrial revolution time. But there were people who are still living and had worked in the textile mills at Blackburn, and they could relate to the works at a very personal level. I did a lot of research before I started working, which meant, reading, site visits, talking to the local people, watching films etc. Yesterday night I was up till late waiting for your film to download, since the connection is not as fast as I am used to. I was just talking about your film to my husband and my friends wife who has also worked in NGO’S dealing with women’s issues. The whole idea was absolutley fantastic and I really liked the film. If you have other works please let me know. You can also upload your film on FB, I can forward it to my friends. How and why did u select this topic, how long did it take you to make this film and what was the response of women who participated in the film and then mainly why did u select Zanzibar? I will come back online again.. everyone is pushing me to wind up, so I will be back when everyone is sleeping. Also it will be interesting for my friends wife to see your film and get her feedback.
Take care and will write soon,
Cheers,
Bindu

…there is always a way…

Hello Bindu,

… and great that you found a way…  

greetings from Snowy Cardiff.

It’s kind of your friend let you use their Internet so you can communicate with us. When there’s a will, we will always find a way to reach out, to create, to speak, to make art/films that matter to ‘us’ as individuals.

The film your husband edited about rag pickers; it sounds interesting and I would like to know if it’s been released here on DVD.

 Facebook matters: not sophisticated yet about this fact of how we live today, and how to be on the scene of FB to connect with ‘others’ – I shall do my best, and maybe this IAA dialogue will now push me, encourage me to be part of this world phenomenon or trend. As most people have attested, being on facebook matters! One person even said if you’re not on FB, then you don’t really exist: Pressure!!!

Wow! You are doing so much; variety – Printmaking? Video, Installations and so on. Plus the residencies sound great. I just read somewhere on the Internet that you like teaching. This is great, and a real chance to share your artwork and experiences with the many young people in art colleges/universities. I wonder if you would be interested in considering this: after the IAA dialogues, we could discuss the possibility of you coming to the Newport School of Art, Media and Design (UWN) to share and imagine your work with young people in a different context. It’s just something that you could think about or consider for the future?

Are they contemporary or historic images of workers? – Did you meet the workers from the textile industry, then took their photos, and then printed their images on the bobbins, or are the images of the workers from archives photos? I wonder what the reaction was when they saw themselves on the bobbins if it’s the former!

If you can, it would be great to see photos of you in both cities… It must be so much fun travelling between two of your favorite cities. If every picture tells a story, I guess I will learn a little more about you in the photos.

I am curious also to know more about the Hyderabad residency. Well not now: that is soon after your residency. I being very optimistic (well, hoping) that we stay in touch and connect on FB, etc (I will push for this!) when IAA is all over.

Ok Bindu, I will end here and hope that all is ok with you in the city of Bollywood Movies.

Mumbai

Hi,
I am in Mumbai now, it used to be called Bombay once upon a time.. well i do love travelling but my art practise has taken me to places, or circumstances have. This past year I have been moving between London and Delhi looking after my family, which is of prime importance to me. But coming January I will be going to Hyderabad. There is a French Festival in India. 4 years back the French Cultural Consulate had invited me to France as an Artist in Residence. So this year they have invited a set of artists who went to France as artists in residence to come to Hyderabad for a workshop, and the proceeds from the sale of the works will go to poor art students, who cannot pay for their education. I am really looking forward to it.

The work Blacheborne is a recent work and was done in June at the Blackburn Museum where I was an artist in residence. They are not stills from a film but images of workers from the textile industry printed on the bobbins. The other work is a photgraph of my own artwork. It is site specific. I had made threads made from hot glue and installed it on to the weaving machine.

Writing here on the net feels strange as well as exciting to me, it feels as if I am writing to myself, more like a diary or to my alter ego..I spent my childhood in Mumbai and then my family moved to Delhi. After my education I came searching for my home back in Mumbai.. either the city had moved on or I had.
I have lived in many different cities and within many different cities many different houses, and then many different countries.. I am in search of my home..I hope I will find it. So today I came back to Mumbai and went to see my tenants who are living in my apartment.. my own house which i had bought with lots of love did not feel like my own.. so in some ways I can understand how you feel.

Didier,You were talking about Heat and Feasting, they do go rather well together, it is warmth and food and celebration. Hence there is the fire god and the god of harvest. There is a festival in India called Lori. We celebrate it around the month of March- when the crops are harvested and the winter is coming to an end. People light bonfires everywhere, there is singing and dancing and food. Most ancient cultures all over the world have some sort of festivities associated around heat and feasting. Please do tell us something about Yafe 2009 and your life back home. How did u get into art, what sort of work do u do, do u have a job or are you a full time artist? Like Florence said- questions and questions and we both are eagerly waiting for your reply.

Florence,tomorrow, I will go on to the net to look at some of your films. It is 1.30 in the morning right now and I have requested my friend to allow me to use the internet, since I wanted to be in touch with both of you. But i will see the films tomorrow. My husband recently edited a film made on rag pickers, the town of Rishikesh in Himalayas near the River Ganga and how a single person has created like a mini revolution there. You may like it. I have made some videos as well, the last one is on my facebook, I will post the link to you or if you add me to your facebook friends you will be able to see it.
Well bye for now and I will be back on the net tomorrow. Maybe if possible try to post some photos of myself in Delhi and Mumbai!!

Take care with lots of warmth from India,
Bindu

There’s a lot to learn about our beautiful world…!

Hello Bindu,

before long, you will know so much about Cameroon and Wales…learning happens everyday, and all the time with each new encounter, I think.  Sounds like you are a lady (and an artist) who loves traveling. Is your traveling connected to your art making? Are you currently working on something in Delhi/Mumbai?

I was born in Cameroon. I came to the UK in the mid 80s for postgraduate studies, and I ended living (and working) in many different cities; First stop was London, then Hull, Leicester, Sheffield, Sunderland, Coventry and now I found a ‘second home’ in Cardiff. I love Wales/Cardiff; quiet, green and friendly people. For me, ‘home’ is both ‘here’ and in Cameroon, but I guess I am always a ‘stranger’ in many different ways both ‘here’ and ‘there’.

I make documentary films; you can see fragments or clips of some of my work on the Internet: Zanzibar Soccer, Queens Sisters in Law, Women Artists in Cameroon, Cameroon: Rhythms and Visions; the last 2 are work-in-progress (I’m in postproduction). When did you produce the work entitled Blacheborne? Are the photos stills from a film or is it a photographic project?

Didier, the Yafé event sounds amazing. I shall explore the possibility of attending Yafé sometime; maybe in 2010? Heat and feasting? – yes, maybe there’s something special about ‘heat’ contributing to people’s desire to have fun, entertainment and much more. What about the happy hormone that makes us to feel positive, etc.  Tell me a little more about Yafé 2009 and how you are involved in it. What’s unique about Yafé 2009? Will you, or did you take photos? I am looking forward to seeing some of your photos from Yafé. What kind of photographs do you take as a photographer – Photo art, documentary photography, etc? So, are you based in Yaoundé? Are you currently having an exhibition somewhere in Cameroon? Where did you study photography? Sorry…too many questions…

By the 31st of December, we will learn so much about each other; personal, artwork, our different worlds and so on.

 Somehow in this very cold weather, the illusion of feeling the ‘heat’ in Yaoundé, and seeing images from my rushes makes me excited – feasting will have to wait another day!

greetings,

Florence

Blacheborne 2

Blacheborne 2 detail

Unaffordable

Unaffordable

Blacheborne

Blacheborne 1

Hi Florence and Didier

Hi Didier and Florence,
Well I am in Delhi right now and am leaving for Mumbai tomorrow and will be back for Xmas in Delhi. This year I have just been on the move!!! but will write about that later. Yes though the time is little we do have a lot to share, which is great. To start with I came to London in 2007 and basically have been moving between India and UK. You are at an advantage over me, in the sense that i know nothing about Cameroon as well as Wales and I feel terrible about it… at least you do have some idea of India, even though it is through the Bollywood movies. Please do tell me as to how you came to live in Cardiff or were you born and brought up there. Didier, you are from Cameroon.. do tell me something about it. I would love to know something from you, besides doing my own research on the internet!! Also would be great if i could see some of your works. Delhi unlike Cardiff is very pleasant, though to be honest when I am in London I miss Delhi and when in Delhi I miss London, and right now I am missing London, a city I have grown to love. I am really looking forward to coming back home at the earliest… though for me the notion of home changes each time.
Though I will be in Mumbai, I will be in touch with both of you over the net.
Warm wishes,
Bindu

Heat and Feasts

December is a hot month and apart from that it is a feast month and a prelude to other festivities.

This year like the past year there is Yafé that is Yaoundé en fête.

Each year it has something new in it which makes me want to get into it.

It’ s a hot day and I feel that this month this year unlike, other years will be unique . It ‘s still subjective but I am sure as the week ends I will know why it will be so.

Heat and feast go along well :). There are a myriad of reasons why !!!

Never too Late!

Hello Didier and Bindu,

I am very delighted that l have the privilege to connect and communicate with you in the last couple of weeks of this brilliant IAA initiative; I look forward to this.

I am in Cardiff right now, and I am looking forward to my ‘official’ vacation from my regular work; for me, this means more ‘quality’ time to spend on editing my film project and continue with developing other ideas.

Didier, where are you now in Cameroon? Just curious so I can imagine you from ‘here’ in a particular space in my ‘homeland’.

 

And how abut you Bindu? – where are you in India at the moment? I have been informed that you are normally resident in London, but that you are currently in India. I have not yet visited India; I hope to do this sometime in the future. The first ever film I paid money to see when I was growing up was an Indian film, and I was hooked on the Indian melodramas for a very long time!

Ok, I hope to get your news and also to continue my dialogue with you both. It’s never really too late to start anything in life!!! And we have 2 whole weeks and a bit!

Warm greetings from Cold Wales.

Florence

Welcome

Welcome to imagine art after! Where are you now? What are you up to?